Smith, E. R., Murphy, J., & Coats, S. (1999). Attachment to groups: Theory and measurement. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 77, 94-110.
Aspects of people's identification with groups may be understood by borrowing theoretical ideas and measurement strategies from research on attachment in close relationships. People have mental models of the self as a group member and of groups as sources of support and identity. These models affect thoughts, emotions, and behaviors related to the group. Three studies show that two dimensions of attachment to groups, attachment anxiety and avoidance, can be assessed with good reliability, validity, and over-time stability. These factors are distinct from relationship attachment and from other measures of group identification. Group attachment predicts several important outcomes, including emotions concerning the group, time and activities shared with a group, social support, collective self-esteem, and ways of resolving conflict. This conceptualization provides new insights into the nature of people's psychological ties to groups