According to Kenrick, Neuberg, & Cialdini (2010), there are three categories of attachment style based on mother-infant relationships. The first is the secure attachment style. A child who has a secure attachment will more easily express affection, be more comfortable when left by the mother, and does not fear being abandoned. A child with an anxious/ambivalent attachment style fears possible abandonment and becomes visibly upset when separated from their mother. The last is the avoidant attachment style in which a child is defensively detached from their mother and does not necessarily prefer their mother over a stranger (Kenrick, Neuberg, & Cialdini, 2010).
The attachment style which defines the mother-infant relationship tends to follow the infant through adulthood as well. Those who had a secure relationship with their mothers tend to have more rewarding and successful relationships as adults, whereas the anxious/ambivalent child will have less stable relationships as an adult. The anxious/ambivalent children will often feel threatened and worry about whether or not their partner loves them. The avoidant children will often find that intimate relationships are uncomfortable and will more easily express jealousy (Kenrick, Neuberg, & Cialdini, 2010).
Kenrick, D., Neuberg, S., and Cialdini, R. (2010) Social Psychology: Goals in Interaction, 5th edition. Boston: Pearson/Allyn & Bacon