Healthy relationships are characterized by the strength of the attachment, as well as by how each person may adjusts to change. As it relates to college students’ success, the more secure the attachment to the attachment figure (parent or guardian), the better chance of scholastic success (Stroufe, 1988). In fact, not only can attachment be essential to scholarly accomplishments, but it can also serve to reinforce the academic goals the instructor introduces. The literature on parental attachment is large, while the literature related specifically to parental attachment and the scholastic achievement of college students is minimal. In fact, within the past 10 years, there have been a lot of studies conducted to establish a cause and effect relationship between attachment and scholarly achievement, but little concentrated on the connection between parental attachment and achievement in the higher learning setting. Based on the literature, I hypothesized that students who have a secure attachment would have higher motivational orientation which will have positive academic success compared to adults with perceptions of insecure attachment. Below I will highlight literature that supports my notion of this cause and effect relationship.
Attachment theory hypothesis is an approach to conceptualize the propensity of people to develop forceful enthusiastic bonds to another individual and comprehend different types of feelings through partition or loss of an appended figure (Bowlby, 1988). As it stands, the hypothesis was generated to clarify the numerous types of identity aggravation and emotional distress that can occur upon division or separation from the attachment figure (Bowlby, 1988). Moreover, the objective of the attachment theory is to establish the importance of the infant’s ability to establish a secure and predictable attachment to their attachment figure.
As Bowlby (1988) maintains that infants are born with the innate ability to look for and structure close, persevering bonds with others. This closeness ensures the survival of the infant by initiating an immediate reaction from the guardian or parental figure in times of peril or distress. Accordingly, the attachment figure provides security and the infant can continually return for consolation (Bowlby, 1988).
Additionally, since working models are generally thought to be a continuous part of a person’s self-framework, weakened working models are likely the cause of a large number of behavioral challenges shown by young people and early grown-ups (Bowlby, 1988). In fact, Bowlby (1988) depicted three examples of insecure attachments that results from a weakened working model among adolescents and adult individuals: anxious attachment, compulsive self-confidence, and compulsive caregiving. As a child grows up and experiences issues with behavior, it is likely the child’s motivation for change will be a direct result of the working model the parents used. If the child’s needs from the parent are not met, then he/she will experience the above-mentioned factors (i.e. anxious attachment or compulsions)
Youthfulness or early adulthood is a time of emotional change in attachment relationships. As Schwartz and Howard (2002) asserts, these progressions empower appended children to live securely in a world described by both wellbeing and risk. As it relates to college students, a student’s maintenance and graduation is one of the greatest issues confronting colleges and universities today (Schwartz and Howard, 2002). As per specialists, students confront various difficulties, which makes the capacity to adjust an imperative viewpoint for school achievement (Schwartz and Howard, 2002).
Fass and Tubman (2002) examined the relationship between parental attachment and achievement. Researchers used Pearson correlation to look at measures of the relations among parents and students. Fass and Tubman (2002) measured attachment, intellectual, scholastic, and non-cognitive mental variables. These variables included: guardian attachment, educational competence, scholarly capacity, school GPA, self-regard, locus of control, good faith, worldwide self-regard, and bisexuality. In addition, these variables provided literature on cultural and ethnic differences possibly connected with the context of the culture or the student’s confidence on self-discipline coping strategies in life, in addition to determining college adaptation.
In conclusion, the literature confirms that if an individual has a good attachment to their parental figure then they will ultimately have a better success rate with major obstacles they may encounter while navigating through intellectual requirements, social interactions, and emotional stability. Essentially, a positive attachment to one’s parents will elicit more of a positive self-regard and a higher level of self-esteem in a person's every day functioning. I feel that this is a valid stance because it is logical that if someone is shown affection and nurtured properly then it is expected that this will affect the persons motivation towards academic success.
Bowbly, J. (1988). A secure base parent-child attachments and healthy human development. Child Psychopathology.
Fass, M. & Tubman, J. (2002). The influence of parental and peer attachment on college students’ academic achievement. Psychology in the Schools, 39(5), 561-573.
Schwartz, S. & Howard, L. (2002). Attachment and Family Therapy: Clinical utility of Adolescent-Family attachment. Volume 41, Issue 3 (pp. 455-476).
Stroufe, L.A. & Fleeson, J. (1988). The coherence of family relationships. In R.A. Hinde & J. Stevenson-Hinde (Eds.) Relationships within families: Mutual influences. Oxford University Press (pp. 27-47).