Personal reactions to ‘strange situations’: attachment styles and acculturation attitudes of immigrants and majority members.

Jan Pieter van Oudenhoven, Jacomijn Hofstra

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A growing number of studies examine the influence of individual factors on acculturation attitudes of immigrants, but few studies focus on majority members’ attitudes. In this paper, two studies are reported on the relation between attachment styles and acculturation attitudes of both immigrants
(N ¼ 177) and majority members (N ¼ 243) in the Netherlands. Until now very few studies have associated cultural adjustment with attachment styles. This is remarkable, because attachment theory refers to interaction with others in new situations. Four different styles of attachment (the secure, dismissing, preoccupied and fearful attachment styles) are related to Berry’s classification of
acculturation attitudes. People, both immigrants and majority members, with a secure attachment style were positive towards integration, whereas people with a dismissing attachment style were not.
Dismissing immigrants were more positive towards separation. Whereas both immigrants and majority members with a secure attachment style showed a similar pattern of correlations between attachment and acculturation, they seem to react quite differently, and even in opposite ways, when they have a preoccupied attachment style. Yet, the different reactions may be caused by the same psychological process: The existential ambivalence of preoccupied people may lead to diverse reactions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)783-798
JournalInternational journal of intercultural relations
Issue number30
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes



  • immigration
  • majority members
  • attitudes

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