Life satisfaction and attachment styles of National Institute of Education, Singapore, trainee teachers
Eng, Kai Jun
Tan, Soo Yin
This study examined the level of life satisfaction and attachment, the ability and predisposition to forming healthy relationships, of the primary school trainee teachers in Singapore. Attachment of participants are measured on two dimensions; attachment anxiety and attachment avoidant, which are further categorised into four different attachment styles; the secure attachment style and the three other insecure attachment styles – preoccupied, dismissing and fearful (Bartholomew, 1990). These four categories are derived from a 2 (Anxiety: high vs. low) x 2 (Avoidant: high vs. low) factorial structure. The two constructs of life satisfaction and attachment are believed to be related to each other and also to marital status. Findings from past researches have shown married status related to higher reports of well-being (Woods, Rhodes and Whelan, 1989), secure attachment style related to greater life satisfaction (Gohm, Darlington, Diener, and Oishi, 1997), and higher marital satisfaction in secure couples (Feeney, 1994). A total of 140 trainee teachers from the Post Graduate Diploma in Education Program- Primary Specialisation took part in the research and completed a questionnaire which included questions on demographic information, a satisfaction of life measure and an attachment style measure. Results show that most participants were securely attached (70.3%). For the insecure attachment style, the dismissing group constituted the largest (21.1%), while only 2.2% and 5.8% of the participants were preoccupied and fearful, respectively. Life satisfaction (M = 4.91, SD = 1.05) of the participants was above the mid-point score of 4 on a scale of 1-7, and both the attachment dimensions were below mid-point score of 4 on a scale of 1-7. For the anxiety and avoidance attachment dimensions, the means obtained were M = 2.98 (SD = 0.74) and M = 3.51 (SD = 1.12) respectively. Participants in the dismissing group reported significantly lower level of life satisfaction compared to the secure group. Pertaining to the attachment measure, participants who reported greater anxiety in social settings also reported greater avoidance. Married individuals reported significantly greater life satisfaction compared to the singles. Married individuals also reported significantly lower anxiety than those who are single in their experience of relationship with significant others. The implications of these results to the population being studied are discussed and recommendations to improve the well-being of trainee teachers in Singapore are made.