Attachment theory has long considered the ways in which our close relationships serve as a source of security. Psychologists have recently begun to recognize that people also derive similar feelings of security from other sources. This paper builds on this work by showing that people turn to material objects as a source of security, specifically when threatened with reminders that close others are unreliable. In two studies, we find strong empirical support for this prediction, suggesting that reminders of the unreliability of close others leads people to report greater attachment to objects (Study 1) and that this effect is mediated specifically by an increase in attachment anxiety, or concern that close others will not be sufficient to meet one's security needs (Study 2).
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