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Leaders as attachment figures: leaders' attachment orientations predict leadership-related mental representations and followers' performance and mental health



Leaders as attachment figures: leaders' attachment orientations predict leadership-related mental representations and followers' performance and mental health



Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 93(4): 632-650



In 3 studies, the authors examined the contribution of leaders' attachment styles to their leadership motives and beliefs and to followers' outcomes. In Study 1, participants completed measures of attachment orientation, leadership motives, self-representations, and leadership style. Studies 2 and 3 were conducted within Israeli military units either during a leadership workshop or during intensive combat training. Israeli military officers and their soldiers (followers) reported on their attachment styles, and the soldiers reported on the officers' leadership qualities and on the soldiers' own performance and mental health. Leaders' attachment anxiety was associated with more self-serving leadership motives and with poorer leadership qualities in task-oriented situations. Leaders' attachment anxiety also predicted followers' poorer instrumental functioning. Leaders' attachment-related avoidance was negatively associated with prosocial motives to lead, with the failure to act as a security provider, and with followers' poorer socioemotional functioning and poorer long-range mental health. Results are discussed with respect to the value of attachment theory for the study of leadership.

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Accession: 054091836

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 17892336

DOI: 10.1037/0022-3514.93.4.632


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