Movies and TV Shows Help People Deal with Attachment Issues: Study

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Movies and TV Shows Help People Deal with Attachment Issues: Study

Attachment issues can grow to bigger problems when not addressed properly and this includes anxiety disorders / Photo by Teeramet Thanomkiat via 123RF


Sometimes, adults find it difficult to enter any kind of relationships, may it be for friendship or romantic. Although they want to feel that they belonged and taken care of by someone, there's something that hinders them from committing to others. Usually, attachment or trust issues are caused by their past experiences. They would think that entering a relationship again will just bring back the bad experiences that happened to them before. 

Although having attachment issues is common in people, this can be worse if not addressed properly. In fact, it can develop into an attachment disorder. An article by the Better Help reported that about 50% of Americans are diagnosable with Adult Attachment Disorder (AAD). This is not only an issue in attachment and commitment because it can also cause a lot of problems in a person's relationships with other people, as well as their relationship with themselves. 

Thus, it is important for an individual and the people around them to address attachment issues especially if they have already shown the signs. It's better to understand that this issue is not only a phase that adults go through with their lives, but it can also develop to a much bigger problem in the future. What's worse is that they will find it difficult to build and maintain relationships with the people around them. 

An individual's attachment later on in life depends on the quality of care they have received during their childhood / Photo by Dean Drobot via 123RF


What is it Like to Have Attachment Issues? 

People who saw and learned at an early age that love and affection could be withdrawn or taken away at any moment are more likely to grow up with attachment issues. They would be suspicious of people especially potential lovers, feeling that these people would leave them soon enough after they get what they wanted. This is usually caused by their past experiences where their emotional integrity was damaged. Thus, these people view being in a relationship as something negative. 

In an article by, British psychologist John Bowlby's attachment theory shows that the nature of an individual's attachment later on in life depends on the quality of care they have received during their childhood. As they grow old, these attachment issues leave them feeling insecure and insensitive to themselves. It hinders them from getting the happiness they deserve just because they are afraid to take risks. 

In a study by Mary Ainsworth, a psychologist, she proposed three distinct attachment patterns. These are secure, anxious-avoidant, and anxious-ambivalent. As said earlier, attachment issues can grow to bigger problems when not addressed properly and this includes anxiety disorders. A study showed that adults and young teens with insecure attachment issues had a prevalence of anxiety disorders for 12 months. 

Additionally, a meta-analysis of 46 studies with children from 1984 to 2010 found out that attachment issues are moderately related to anxiety. It also showed that anxious-ambivalent attachment has the strongest association. This means people living with these issues are more likely to have intense negative emotional reactions and cognition.

Signs of Attachment Issues

There are several signs to know if you have one. First is becoming obsessive around romantic partners. According to an article by The Talko, this happens when a person is trying to find signs of deception and betrayal with their lover. 

Another is fantasizing about other things and looking to other people for validation. For instance, you want to gain more likes and reactions to your photos on social media because it will make you feel good in a way. However, it prevents you from accepting and being comfortable with the things you currently have. Thus, you tend to waste your time rejecting yourself and your needs. 

Additionally, people who are insecure and who have attachment issues are constantly anxious. For instance, people would spend most of their time overthinking and worrying about the things that might happen in the next hour or day. They are terrified that something is going to happen that will affect their happiness. 

Dealing with Attachment Issues by Watching TV and Movies

In a study conducted by researchers from Ohio State University, it showed that people can deal with relationship issues in their lives by watching television and movies. According to an article by the Science Daily, this research revealed that those who have attachment issues are likely than others to be engaged in the stories they watched in movies and television. 

This study found that people with attachment issues feel connected with fictional characters in one way or another and at the same time, the movie or TV show provides a "safe space" for them to deal with their problems in their relationships. In an interview, Nathan Silver, lead author of the study, said, "We can do a lot more with stories than just escape into them. For people with attachment issues, movies and TV shows can be a way to try to understand their problems or to vicariously meet their needs for intimacy in a way that they may find difficult in real life."

In collaboration with Michael Slater, professor of communication at Ohio State, the study was participated in by more than 1,039 adult Americans. They aimed to assess the ways people coped with attachment insecurities that are related to television and movies. They also made the participants answer a variety of questionnaires that showed how they interact with the movies and TV shows they watched. 

The results of the study showed that those who had an anxious-avoidant attachment are more engaged in a number of ways. They also felt that it helped them understand people through the stories.



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