Caroline M. Tancredy
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Fraley Lab

» Publications

Tancredy, C. M., & Fraley, R. C. (2006). The nature of adult twin relationships: An attachment-theoretical perspective. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 90, 78-93.

Shaver, P. R., & Tancredy, C. M. (2001). Emotion, attachment and bereavement: A conceptual commentary. In M. S. Stroebe, W. Stroebe, R. O. Hansson, & H. Schut (Eds.), Handbook of bereavement: Consequences, coping, and care (pp.63-88). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Tancredy, C. M. (2000) Autonomy and Connection in Twinships. Unpublished manuscript.

» Presentations

McLean, K. C., Edelstein, R. S., & Tancredy, C. M., & Shaver, P.R. (2003). Narrative Reports of Cues to Danger in Late Adolescence: Relations with Attachment Style and Attachment-Figure Hierarchies . Poster presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development. Tampa, FL.

McLean, K. C., Edelstein, R. S., & Tancredy, C. M. (2002, February). Targets of attachment in young adulthood: Parents and peers. Poster presented at the 3rd Annual Meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology. Savannah, GA.

Tancredy, C. M. (1999, July). Autonomy and connection in twin relationships. Poster presented at the joint meeting of the International Network of Personal Relationships and the International Society for the Study of Personal Relationships, Louisville, KY.

Tancredy, C. M., Edelstein, R. S., & McLean, K. C. (2002). A reconsideration of Green & Campbell's (2000) Exploration Index: The role of attachment dynamics and personality traits. Manuscript submitted as a poster presentation for the Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association (Chicago, IL; August, 2002).

» Online Surveys

Twin and Sibling Relationships Study

Close Relationships and Relationship Ideals

Experiences in Close Relationships Revised (ECR-R) (Fraley)

» Other Attachment Labs

UC Davis Adult Attachment Web Site

Richard Atkin's Attachment Web Site

Everett Waters' Attachment Web Site

UMASS Attachment Web Site

Kim Bartholomew's Attachment Web Site

» Contact Information

Mail by post:

C/0 Chris Fraley
Department of Psychology
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
603 E. Daniel Street
Champaign, IL 61820

» Education

PhD University of California, Davis

M.A. Social Psychology
Doctoral Candidate in Personality and Social Psychology

Catholic University of America, Washington, DC
M. A., General Psychology

University of California, Davis
B. A., Psychology; Rhetoric and Communication

» Research Interests

Attachment Dynamics in Twin and Non-Twin Sibling Relationships

My primary research interest is the study of attachment dynamics in adult twin relationships. The twin relationship has been touted as one of the most unusual and intimate of human bonds (Burlingham, 1952; Segal, 1997; 1999), yet it has gone relatively unexplored as an attachment relationship. My dissertation addresses several ways in which the twin relationship can be systematically studied in the context of attachment theory (Bowlby 1969/1982, 1973, 1980; Cassidy & Shaver, 1999). My dissertation research explores some of the basic attachment dynamics of this relationship. Specifically, my research addresses two major questions: First, are twins more likely than non-twin siblings to serve as attachment figures?; and are twins uniquely positioned in attachment hierarchies? In addressing this question, I measure attachment features and functions that appear in these relationships, and consider factors, such as zygosity and differential sibling experience, that might contribute to variability in attachment dynamics observed in twin relationships. The second question addressed in my research is, Does the twin experience affect the way that twins relate to others? In addressing this question I examine the specific and general internal working models that twins hold for their close relationships. I hope to learn how being a twin influences other important relationships in a twin's life, such as romantic relationships and friendships.

Attachment Dynamics in Interpersonal Relationships

I am interested in understanding how attachment dynamics shape interpersonal relationships across the lifespan. Currently, I have worked with some of my colleagues to study how attachments are transferred from parents to peers, and under what circumstances peers are used as a secure base and safe haven. According to attachment theory, an attachment figure serves several important functions for children: a secure base from which the child can explore the environment, and a safe haven from whom the child can seek protection. A child will maintain proximity to an attachment figure to ensure that his or her needs can be met. Recent research has demonstrated that individuals begin to expand their attachment networks in adolescence by transferring attachment functions from parents to peers and romantic partners (Hazan et al., 1991). However, the parent remains the primary attachment figure. Some researchers have suggested that one reason for this shift is the need to establish autonomy from parents and form new bonds with others (Hazan & Ziefman, 1999). Some of our findings show that 1) attachment transfer happens sequentially (individuals first maintain proximity to the new figure, then regard them as a safe haven, and finally, regard them as a secure base); 2) complete transfer takes approximately 2 years; 3) the targets of attachment transfer are primarily peers, siblings, and romantic partners; and 4) attachment networks include approximately 5 people. Although some basic information has been learned about attachment transfer, we have yet to understand the processes by which it takes place, or the stability of these new attachments. Also, it is not entirely clear what behaviors are associated with attachment functions in adulthood. In this project we are examining specific aspects of attachment transfer for college-aged individuals. My colleagues and I are interested in exploring several factors that might promote or inhibit transference, as well as the stability of an individual's attachment network over time. Furthermore, we are investigating the relation among attachment orientation and individual differences, such as personality traits and personal life events, and outcomes of attachment transfer. Preliminary results for this study were presented at the Annual Meeting for the Society of Personality and Social Psychology (Savannah, GA; February, 2002).