The ideal mental state, or stance, according to attachment theory and research is secure attachment or attachment security. The ideal state, or stance, according to Buddhism has been often been described as non-attachment. I will present some ideas and measures, including measures of attachment anxiety and avoidance, mindfulness, and non-attachment, in hopes of sparking theoretical and practical discussions of attachment security and non-attachment. In brief, what Buddhism calls “clinging and grasping” is characteristic of anxious attachment, not of secure attachment. Thus, as strange as it may seem, non-attachment is closely related to secure attachment, although the two are somewhat distinguishable empirically, at least as they are currently being measured. Non-attachment is broader than social attachment and includes not clinging or grasping in relation to life changes, life itself, youth, money, self-image, or anything else that might cause a fearful or anxious person to panic and cling. But people with a history of secure attachments are not likely to cling or grasp in any of these ways.

Phillip R. Shaver, PhD

University of California, Davis

Phillip R. Shaver, a social and personality psychologist, received his Ph. D. in psychology from the University of Michigan in 1970 and is currently Professor and Chair of the Department … MORE