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Bullying experiences and adult attachment a dissertation submitted to the faculty

1 January 2015


Bullying among children and adolescents is an ever-growing concern in schools across the United States and the world (Hamburger, Basile, & Vivolo, 2011; Nansel, Craig, Overpeck, Saluja, & Ruan, 2004). The emphasis of attachment theory is the idea that early learning and early relationship patterns are carried forward into new relationships in adulthood. In line with Bowlby’s (1969) conceptualization that attachment is a lifespan construct, as well as the understanding that our relationships can be influenced by significant life experiences, this study investigated the relationship between bullying experiences of bullies and current adult attachment styles. Two hundred thirty-six adults answered questionnaires relating to bullying experiences in school and attachment styles across adult relationships with parents, peers, and romantic partners. Results indicated a positive relationship between experiences with bullying and attachment to the mother and father figure. Discussion and implications of these findings are reviewed and discussed.


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