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The role of attachment styles in shaping proactive behaviour: An intra-individual analysis


Sharon K. Parker, Management and Organisations, University of Western Australia (M261), 35 Stirling Highway, CRAWLEY WA 6009, Australia (e-mail:


Focusing on the intra-individual variation of proactive behaviour, the authors propose that curiosity, core self-evaluations (CSE), and future orientation are states that influence proactive behaviour at a given time at the within-individual level, and these within-individual associations are moderated by attachment styles at the between-individual level. For a sample of Taiwanese students (N= 58), the results showed that monthly curiosity, CSE, and future orientation positively predicted monthly proactive behaviour, but these within-individual associations were different depending on an individual's relationship anxiety in attachment. People high in relationship anxiety tend to behave proactively to approach future goals at a given time, but cannot rely on their self-evaluations to foster the proactive action at the same time, revealing an ambivalent attitude towards proactive behaviour.

Practitioner Points

  • 1Strengthening an individual's states of curiosity, positive self-evaluations, and future orientation can help to enhance his/her proactive behaviour at a given time.
  • 2People who worry about their social relationships are reluctant to rely on their positive self-evaluation at a given time to engage in proactive behaviour at that time.
  • 3Cultivating a positive social environment is helpful to enhance an individual's proactive behaviour, especially for people who worry about their social relationships.