Effects of affection on work, love and health in adulthood

It is true that the disease appears in the first year of our life and develops its characteristics according to the behavior of our primary caregivers (in terms of availability, receptivity, validation and support).

But affection can be defined as the straightforward approach to someone we see as having more resources than ourselves to cope with an experience, in order to feel safe. In this way, we can set up affectionate (or approach) behaviors regardless of our age.

    Brief definition of the condition and its types

    Bowlby (1973) defined affectionate behavior as that which it brings another person, important to us, to approach or to stay by our side.

    According to this author, it appears in children when they want to stay close to their benchmark, they resist leaving it and / or need a secure base on which to explore the world and come back when something is wrong.

    Two types of conditions have been defined: safe or dangerous.

    1. Safe from affection

    Individuals with a secure grip they grew up around emotional and / or receptive people. They have learned to trust the availability and reciprocity of those who have been or are important in their lives.

    2. Unsecured state

    In the style of insecure affection, a distinction is made between avoidant affection and anxious-ambivalent affection.

    People with an avoidant condition have grown up around reckless and / or inflexible caregivers. They have learned to be wary of the availability and reciprocity of those who have been or are important in their lives.

    People with anxious-ambivalent affection have grown up around inconsistent numbers in their availability, meaning that on some occasions they have been callous and on others they have been intrusive.

      How does the style of work influence you?

      Hazan and Shaver (1990) proposed that work fulfills the function of adults exploring children. Given this premise, they conducted a study whose results suggested the following:

      1. People with a secure attachment feel satisfied with their work

      Studies suggest that people with a secure grip are confident in their abilities to perform it. Also that they rely on the availability of others to help them when they need it. Studies have shown that these are people who generally feel satisfied and valued in the workplace, and who often make sure that the professional does not interfere in the social, family and personal spheres.

      2. People with preventive disorders are more likely to work compulsively

      According to the study by Hazan and Shaver (1990), it has been suggested that people with a preventive condition they can focus on work to avoid intimacy. This way, while they don’t have to doubt their performance, they can act in such a way that work interferes with their relationships and / or their health.

      3. People with anxious-ambivalent inclination may try to meet their needs at work in other areas.

      According to the referenced study, people with an anxious-ambivalent inclination they may have difficulty separating the work environment from staff.

      This can lead to confusing situations in which one tries to meet relationship needs through work, leading to distractions, difficulty completing projects or teamwork. All of this could influence a feeling of dissatisfaction with one’s own performance and a feeling of not being appreciated by one’s peers.

      How does affection style influence the couple?

      It should be noted that much more research is still needed in this regard. In any case, studies conducted so far in relation to affection style and romantic relationships suggest the following:

      1. Couples with a secure attachment are better able to express their emotions, seek and support

      It has been observed that in situations of high anxiety, couples with a confident affectionate style are better able to seek the support of their romantic partners. In turn, these seem to support them more, and a congruence is established between what is requested and what is received, which facilitates and reinforces intimacy and satisfaction in the couple.

      2. People with an avoidant condition distance themselves from their partner when stressed and may have difficulty engaging.

      It has been suggested that people with an avoidant inclination tend to distance themselves from their partners, both physically and emotionally, when they feel a lot of anxiety. Outraged, the ability to provide support would also decrease in these situations.

      This would be in keeping with the desire of these people to be self-reliant and with the acquired mistrust of the availability of loving characters to help or support them when they need it.

      In the area of ​​the couple, this could pose a risk of dissatisfaction and difficulties in intimacy. In all cases, it should be borne in mind that it has been observed that this difficulty due to the proximity of individuals in an avoidant condition decreases in situations of stability, so it seems that it would not be fair to regard these people as cold and distant per seBut these features would be activated in specific situations.

      3. People with an anxious-ambivalent tendency tend to be more dependent on their partner

      It has been observed that people with an anxious-ambivalent inclination they tend to constantly seek intimacy in relationships, Which, in the couple, can be perceived (at least initially and depending on the degree and intensity) as a greater interest in the relationship.

      However, these are people who feel insecure and worried about any separation and tend to use emotionally focused coping strategies, which could lead to conflict and long-term dissatisfaction. .

        How Does Lifestyle Affect Health Behaviors?

        Health behaviors are related to the type of stress response and the ability to regulate emotions. Feeney and Ryan (1994) proposed a model that incorporates early family experiences of illness, affection style and adult health-related behaviors. According to his studies, we could consider the following results:

        1. People with a secure attachment are able to regulate negative emotionality, but they know how to ask for help.

        It has been observed that individuals with a secure grip they would have more tools to manage the emotions that arise in the face of physical discomfort or a potential health problem. In addition, they could ask for help and advice when they need it, assertively and in accordance with the symptoms.

        2. People with preventive conditions go to the doctor less

        According to Feeny and Ryan (1994), people with avoidant disease it would take longer to see a doctor in the face of physical discomfort. This is in line with the general tendency of these people not to seek support or advice when faced with stressful situations. It should be noted that, in the field of health, this avoidance could have serious consequences.

        3. People with an anxious-ambivalent tendency complain more

        It has been observed that people with an anxious-ambivalent inclination they are more aware and attentive to any manifestation of stress, negative emotion or physical symptom. This, added to their tendency to worry, would make them more likely to complain of physical discomfort and further consult specialists.


        To summarize, our affection style impacts our relationships and behavior in adulthood. As we grow up, we internalize beliefs and expectations about our abilities, our worth, our right to be loved, cared for and helped by others.

        We also learn communication strategies (more or less effective) and emotional regulation. Depending on all this, faced with situations of exploration (work), intimacy (partner) or stress (health), reactions and behaviors will activate in us. different, which are worth detecting to know us, understand us and ask for help to make changes in case they cause us significant interference in our daily life.

        Bibliographical references:

        • Feeney, J. and Noller P. (2001). Adult condition. Bilbao: Desclée de Brouwer.
        • Medina, CJ, Rivera, LY and Aguasvivas JA (2016). Adult affection and the perceived quality of relationships: Evidence from a population of young adults. Health and society 7 (3).

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