Hazan, C. & Shaver, P. (1987) Romantic Love conceptualized as an attachment process. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 52(3), 511-524.
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Hazan & Shaver argue that romantic love is an adult form of attachment similar to infant attachment to parents. One of the three major attachment styles (secure, avoidant and ambivalent) is established during infancy and childhood as part of an enduring set of social and self mental models. Thus the style of attachment developed by an individual during childhood with parents will likely be similar to the attachment style exhibited during adult romantic relationships.
This paper is a classic due to 1) its application of the established theory of attachment to the previously very ill defined psychological concept of love, but more importantly by 2) introducing the concept of adult attachment and providing self-report methods for its measure. Although the deterministic argument for infant-to-adult continuity seems rather archaic, it appears that subsequent research has moved away from these issues of continuity while still focusing upon the implications of different adult attachment styles.