Child, Youth, and Family Studies, Department of


Document Type


Date of this Version

January 2005


Published in Family Relations, 54 (January 2005), pp. 46–57. Copyright © 2005 by the National Council on Family Relations; published by Blackwell Publishing. “The definitive version is available at “ Used by permission.


Based on attachment theory, Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) theorizes that attachment styles influence marital quality. Although research supports this relationship among young couples, no research has examined attachment styles and marital quality in midlife marriages. We examined this issue using data from 429 married people between the ages of 40 and 50. Results indicated that insecure attachment styles were associated with marital quality, whereas secure attachment was not. These results suggest that EFT therapists can help midlife couples in distressed relationships move from insecure to secure attachment styles. However, the use of EFT to help these couples who have secure attachment styles is questioned.