Institute of Art Design + Technology
Dún Laoghaire

Eden Bryan 

BSc [Hons] Applied Psychology

My name is Eden Bryan, and I have just completed my BSc in Applied Psychology. Throughout my experience in the degree, I realised how much I enjoyed studying gender and relationships, and so, I incorporated both into my major research project, ‘Gender, long-term relationships, and attachment style: A cross-sectional correlational study of young people’. I hope to pursue a Master’s degree in Psychology and eventually pursue a PhD, with the intention of one day becoming a lecturer in social and evolutionary psychology.

Project Description

Recently, a steady increase has been seen in the age at which people choose to "settle down" and enter serious, long-term relationships (LTRs). However, many young people enter LTRs before the age of 25. I wanted to see how gender and entrance into an LTR at a young age impacted attachment style.

Participants took part in an online survey, where they were asked what their gender identity was, and if they were or were not in an LTR. The survey included an attachment style questionnaire, sorting participants into “anxious” or “avoidant”. Anxious attachment is seen in those who fear abandonment and rejection. Avoidant attachment is seen in those who fear closeness, and may experience a lack of trust.

Overall, the data of 181 participants (126 women and 55 men) was used in the statistical analysis. Of these participants, 142 were in long-term relationships, and 39 were not.

Project Objectives

This project aimed to see if gender, entrance into a long-term relationship and the interaction of the two, had any influence on attachment style in those between the ages of 18 and 25.

I wanted to see if certain genders, and certain attachment styles, were more likely to enter long-term relationships before the age of 25.

Project Outcomes

Results found that the highest anxiety levels were seen in men who were not in long-term relationships, and the highest avoidance levels were seen in women not in long-term relationships.

Overall, the lowest anxiety scores were seen in men in LTRs, and the lowest avoidance scores were seen in women in LTRs.

Gender, long-term relationships, and attachment style: A cross-sectional correlational study of young people

In summary, my thesis sought to find out how gender, attachment style, and the interaction between those two variables impacted entrance into LTRs in people under the age of 25.

I found that people not in long-term romantic relationships overall had higher levels of anxiety and avoidance than people that are in long-term relationships, regardless of gender.

In relation to gender, on average women had higher anxiety scores overall, and men had higher overall avoidance scores.