The present study explores the origins of fear of intimacy, specifically assessing parental involvement and attachment style. Correlations between each variable were analyzed and a mediation model was explored as well. Participants in this study (N = 372; mean age = 25.78; 86% female) completed scales to measure parental care, parental overprotection, attachment avoidance, attachment anxiety, and fear of intimacy. Data was analyzed to reveal correlational results that support the hypotheses. Negative correlations were found between parental care and attachment avoidance, attachment anxiety, and fear of intimacy. Parental overprotection was positively correlated with attachment avoidance, attachment anxiety, and fear of intimacy. Both attachment avoidance and attachment anxiety were positively correlated with fear of intimacy. Additionally, a mediation model assessed the extent to which attachment mediated the relationship between parenting and fear of intimacy. Attachment avoidance and attachment anxiety were both found to be partial mediators in this relationship; however, avoidance did not mediate when parental overprotection was considered the independent variable. These results link childhood experiences and adult relationships in a way that brings new light to the importance of parenting and attachment in shaping adult experiences. Results also make way for personal, clinical, and professional applications in the fields of education, parenting, and mental health.
Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
College of Sciences
Psychology, Clinical Track
Perez, Victoria M., "Origins of Fear of Intimacy: The Effects of Parental Involvement and Attachment Style" (2023). Honors Undergraduate Theses. 1404.