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Interpersonal Attachment and Patterns of Ideological Belief

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Abstract

We examine whether two general dimensions of sociopolitical belief—right-wing authoritarianism (RWA) and social dominance orientation (SDO)—are rooted in insecure psychological attachment. Based on an undergraduate sample (N = 255), we model the relations among attachment styles, general worldviews, RWA, and SDO. A structural equation model indicated that anxious attachment led to RWA but not SDO and that this effect was mediated by the belief that the world is a dangerous place. In contrast, avoidant attachment led to SDO but not RWA, and this effect was mediated by the belief that the world is an uncaring, competitive jungle in which people are motivated to maximize personal utility. We discuss the implications of these findings for the nature and origins of political conservatism.

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