Earliest Memories, Positive Emotional Memories of Warmth and Safeness, and Attachment Style in Adolescent

Senija Tahirovic, Mersiha Jusić


Research has shown that early childhood experiences, especially those related to feelings of threat or safeness play a key role in subsequent emotional and social development. The aims of the study are to explore the relationship between early memories of warmth and safeness and attachment style in adolescents (1) and to define specificities of earliest memories with regard to the current attachment style(2).
In order to explore relationships between earliest memories, emotional memories of warmth and safeness, and current attachment style of adolescents, a convenient sample of 167 public secondary school students with average age of 17,22 years of whom 63.47% females, was included in the research. The questionnaire included Early Memories of Warmth and Safeness Scale (EMWSS; Richter, Gilbert & McEwan, 2009), Memory Characteristics Questionnaire (Johnson, Suenghas, Foley & Raye, 1988) and Adult Attachment Questionnaire (Hazan & Shaver, 1990).
Research findings proved that emotional content of adolescents` earliest memories is predominantly of joy (41.7%), fear (23.3%), sadness (8.6%), surprise (8%), anger (7.4%), etc. which is in line with previous research using same or similar methodology. Approximation of the first memory is at 4.7 years of age, with no significant difference between males and females. However, females described their first memory in significantly more words than males (t=-3.77, p<0,01). Results show that securely attached adolescents scored significantly higher on EMWSS, compared to their insecurely attached peers (t=3.27, p<0,001), while the difference between avoidant and ambivalently attached adolescents was not significant (t=1.80, p>0,05). Securely and insecurely attached individuals did not differ in dimensions of vividness of earliest memory (H=1.127), emotional valence (H=.178), and emotion intensity (H=.209, all p>0,05). Research findings are discussed in light of current research in the field, and recommendations for future studies are given.


Emotional Memory; Warmth and Safeness; Earliest Memories; Attachment Style; Adolescents

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.21533/epiphany.v9i1.211


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