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Author's Final Manuscript

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Psychological Science Online First

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Does the warmth of children’s family environments predict the quality of their intimate relationships at the other end of the life span? Using data collected prospectively on 81 men from adolescence through the eighth and ninth decades of life, this study tested the hypotheses that warmer relationships with parents in childhood predict greater security of attachment to intimate partners in late life, and that this link is mediated in part by the degree to which individuals in midlife rely on emotion-regulatory styles that facilitate or inhibit close relationship connections. Findings supported this mediational model, showing a positive link between more nurturing family environments in childhood and greater security of attachment to spouses more than 60 years later. This link was partially mediated by reliance on more engaging and less distorting styles of emotion regulation in midlife. The findings underscore the far-reaching influence of childhood environment on well-being in adulthood.


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