School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Richard J Silvey


Attachment theory, Attachment to God, Attachment to parents, College students, Millennials, Psychological separation


Developmental Psychology | Higher Education


The purpose of this quantitative, correlational study was to examine whether Christian, Millennial college students’ secure attachment to God relationship could contribute to their psychological separation. This question was addressed by examining (a) the correlation between attachment to parents and psychological separation, (b) the correlation between attachment to parents and attachment to God, and (b) the correlation between attachment to God and psychological separation. Bowlby’s (1969, 1973, 1982) attachment theory was used as the theoretical foundation to explore both the students’ relationships with parents and God. Attachment to parents of Christian, Millennial college students attending a Southern Christian college was measured by the revised Inventory of Parental and Peer Attachment (IPPA-R, Armsden & Greenberg, 1987, 2017); attachment to God by the Attachment to God Inventory (AGI, Beck & McDonald, 2004); and psychological separation by the Psychological Separation Inventory (PSI, Hoffman, 1984). Analysis revealed this sample of Christian, Millennial college students as moderately secure in their attachment to parents but psychologically still dependent and insecure in their attachment to God. Explanations for these contrary results are provided. Christian college leadership is encouraged to continue fostering the development of students’ relationship with God to facilitate expected psychosocial benefits of this spiritual relationship.