Previous research suggests that parental attachment is stable throughout emerging adulthood. However, the relationships between the mutual attachments in the dyads of emerging adults and their parents are still unclear. Our study examines the stability and change in dyadic attachment. We asked 574 emerging adults and 463 parents at four occasions over 1 year about their mutual attachments. We used a latent state-trait model with autoregressive effects to estimate the time consistency of the attachments. Attachment was very stable, and earlier measurement occasions could explain more than 60% of the reliable variance. Changes of attachment over time showed an accumulation of situational effects for emerging adults but not for their parents. We estimated the correlations of the mutual attachments over time using a novel multi-rater latent state-trait model with autoregressive effects. This model showed that the mutual attachments of parents and emerging adults were moderately to highly correlated. Our model allows to separate the stable attachment from the changing attachment. The correlations between the mutual attachments were higher for the stable elements of attachment than for the changing elements of attachment. Emerging adults and their parents share a stable mutual attachment, but they do not share the changes in their respective attachments.
License Holder: Copyright © 2021 Bohn, Holtmann, Ulitzsch, Koch, Luhmann and Eid.
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This publication is with permission of the rights owner freely accessible due to an Alliance licence and a national licence (funded by the DFG, German Research Foundation) respectively.