Attachment

The Fundamental Questions

Edited by Ross A. Thompson, Jeffry A. Simpson, and Lisa J. Berlin

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April 23, 2021
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448 Pages
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The ongoing growth of attachment research has given rise to new perspectives on classic theoretical questions as well as fruitful new debates. This unique book identifies nine central questions facing the field and invites leading authorities to address them in 46 succinct chapters. Multiple perspectives are presented on what constitutes an attachment relationship, the best ways to measure attachment security, how internal working models operate, the importance of early attachment relationships for later behavior, challenges in cross-cultural research, how attachment-based interventions work, and more. The concluding chapter by the editors delineates points of convergence and divergence among the contributions and distills important implications for future theory and research.

“This book will prove richly rewarding to those already deeply steeped in attachment theory, research, clinical intervention, and even public policy, as well as those new to the subject. It could serve as a primary text for a graduate psychology class. The book comprises brief chapters by developmental, social, biological, and clinical psychologists who both embrace and critique attachment theory and research. It provides deep insight into such fundamental issues as conceptualization and measurement of attachment security across the life course, determinants and consequences of variation in security/insecurity and attachment state of mind, and underlying neurobiology. Classical and cutting-edge research is masterfully reported and evaluated in an effort to move the field in an interdisciplinary lifespan direction. This volume is an intellectual feast—enjoy the meal!”

—Jay Belsky, PhD, Robert M. and Natalie Reid Dorn Professor, Program in Human Development, University of California, Davis


“This is a volume of extraordinary importance for our knowledge about attachment relationships in human development, and for the application of that knowledge in systems across the lifespan and across societies. It could not be more timely as an incisive update on attachment research, which over the past decade has expanded and has been increasingly extended into neuroscience and education. Many fields will no doubt benefit from the rich insights provided by these chapters. I have no doubt that this landmark volume will be a standard reference for years to come.”

—Robert C. Pianta, PhD, Novartis US Foundation Professor of Education and Dean, School of Education and Human Development, University of Virginia


“This is one of the more important books on attachment theory of the last few decades. Thompson, Simpson, and Berlin have brought together a who’s who of attachment scholars to confront nine fundamental issues. Several innovations make this a standout volume—among them, the mix of senior and emerging scholars, which leads to fresh perspectives on crucial questions, and the focused, concise chapter format. This book will serve to stimulate ideas in those familiar with the field and will be an excellent text for graduate courses on research and theory in developmental psychology.”

—Megan R. Gunnar, PhD, Regents Professor, Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota


“Attachment theory has grown continuously, with increasing relevance for theoretical, clinical, research, and public policy domains. Thompson, Simpson, and Berlin, together with their excellent contributors, have produced a volume of immeasurable significance. Chapters assess where the field of attachment currently stands and consider perspectives for the future. I highly recommend this comprehensive work to educators, researchers, and clinicians interested in early development.”

—Joy D. Osofsky, PhD, Paul J. Ramsay Endowed Chair of Psychiatry and Barbara Lemann Professor of Child Welfare, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center

Table of Contents

1. Attachment Theory in the Twenty-First Century: Introduction to the Volume, Ross A. Thompson, Jeffry A. Simpson, & Lisa J. Berlin

- TOPIC 1: Defining Attachment and Attachment Security

2. Attachment as a Relationship Construct, L. Alan Sroufe

3. What Kinds of Relationships Count as Attachment Relationships?, R. Pasco Fearon & Carlo Schuengel

4. Attachment to Child Care Providers, Lieselotte Ahnert

5. Defining Attachment Relationships and Attachment Security from a Personality–Social Perspective on Adult Attachment, Phillip R. Shaver & Mario Mikulincer

6. The Nature and Developmental Origins of Attachment Security in Adulthood, Deborah Jacobvitz & Nancy Hazen

7. Casting a Wider Net: Parents, Pair Bonds, and Other Attachment Partners in Adulthood, Ashleigh I. Aviles & Debra Zeifman sample

- TOPIC 2: Measuring the Security of Attachment

8. Categorical Assessments of Attachment: On the Ontological Relevance of Group Membership, Howard Steele & Miriam Steele

9. Categorical or Dimensional Measures of Attachment?: Insights from Factor Analytic and Taxometric Research, K. Lee Raby, R. Chris Fraley, & Glenn I. Roisman

10. Representational Measures of Attachment: A Secure Base Script Perspective, Theodore Waters

11. Measuring the Security of Attachment in Adults: Narrative Assessments and Self-Report Questionnaires, Judith A. Crowell

12. Priming Approaches, Omri Gillath & Ting Ai

- TOPIC 3: The Nature and Function of Internal Working Models

13. In the Service of Protection from Threat: Attachment and Internal Working Models, Jude Cassidy

14. From Internal Working Models to Script-Like Attachment Representations, Harriet S. Waters, Theodore E. A. Waters, & Everett Waters

15. Parental Insightfulness and Parent–Child Emotion Dialogues: Shaping Children's Internal Working Models, David Oppenheim & Nina Koren-Karie

16. Internal Working Models as Developing Representations, Ross A. Thompson

17. A Functional Account of Multiple Internal Working Models: Flexibility in Ranking, Structure and Content across Contexts and Time, Yuthika U. Girme & Nickola C. Overall

- TOPIC 4: Stability and Change in the Security of Attachment

18. The Consistency of Attachment Security across Time and Relationships, R. Chris Fraley & Keely A. Dugan

19. Stability and Change in Attachment Security, Cathryn Booth-LaForce & Glenn I. Roisman

20. Beyond Stability: Toward Understanding the Development of Attachment beyond Childhood, Joseph Allen

21. Stability and Change in Adult Romantic Relationship Attachment Styles, Ramona L. Paetzold, W. Steven Rholes, & Tiffany George

22. Change in Adult Attachment Insecurity from an Interdependence Theory Perspective, Ximena B. Arriaga & Madoka Kumashiro

- TOPIC 5: The Continuing Influence of Early Attachment

23. The Legacy of Early Attachments: Past, Present, Future, Glenn I. Roisman & Ashley M. Groh

24. Attachment Security and Disorganization: Etched on the Brain?, Marinus H. van IJzendoorn, Anne Tharner, & Marian J. Bakermans-Kranenburg

25. Early Attachment and Later Physical Health, Katie B. Ehrlich & Jude Cassidy

26. The Continuing Influence of Early Attachment Orientations Viewed from a Personality–Social Perspective on Adult Attachment, Mario Mikulincer & Philip R. Shaver

27. Early Attachment from the Perspective of Life History Theory, Ohad Szepsenwol & Jeffry A. Simpson

- TOPIC 6: Culture and Attachment

28. Attachment Theory: Fact or Fancy?, Heidi Keller

29. Pluralities and Commonalities in Children's Relationships: Care of Efe Forager Infants as a Case Study, Gilda Morelli & Linxi Lu

30. Attachment Theory's Universality Claims: Asking Different Questions, Judi Mesman

31. Attachment in the Context of Human Adaptation, James Chisholm

- TOPIC 7: Separation and Loss

32. Losing a Parent in Early Childhood: The Impact of Disrupted Attachment, Ann Chu & Alicia F. Lieberman

33. Attachment, Loss, and Grief Viewed from a Personality–Social Perspective on Adult Attachment, Philip R. Shaver & Mario Mikulincer

34. The Psychological and Biological Correlates of Separation and Loss, David A. Sbarra & Antina Manvelian

35. Breaking the Marital Ties That Bind: Divorce from a Spousal Attachment Figure, Brooke C. Feeney & Joan K. Moin

36. Normal and Pathological Mourning: Attachment Processes in the Development of Prolonged Grief, Fiona Maccallum

- TOPIC 8: Attachment-Based interventions

37. Attachment-Based Interventions to Promote Secure Attachment in Children, Marian Bakermans-Kranenburg & Mirjam Oosterman

38. Mechanisms of Attachment-Based Intervention Effects on Child Outcomes, Mary Dozier & Kristin Bernard

39. Attachment-Based Intervention Processes in Disordered Parent–Child Relationships, Sheree L. Toth, Michelle E. Alto, & Jennifer Warmingham

40. Therapeutic Mechanisms in Attachment-Informed Psychotherapy with Adults, Alessandro Talia & Jeremy Holmes

41. Attachment Principles as a Guide to Therapeutic Change: The Example of Emotionally Focused Therapy, Susan M. Johnson

- TOPIC 9: Attachment, Systems, and Services

42. Attachment and Child Care, Margaret Tresch Owen & Cynthia A. Frosch

43. Attachment and Early Childhood Education Systems in the United States, Bridget K. Hamre & Amanda P. Williford

44. An Attachment Theory Approach to Parental Separation, Divorce, and Child Custody, Michael E. Lamb

45. Attachment and Child Protective Systems, Jody Todd Manly, Anna Smith, Sheree L. Toth, & Dante Cicchetti

46. Attachment and Foster Care, Charles H. Zeanah & Mary Dozier

47. Attachment and Early Home Visiting: Toward a More Perfect Union, Lisa J. Berlin, Allison West, & Brenda Jones Harden

48. Concluding Commentary: Assembling the Puzzle—Interlocking Pieces, Missing Pieces, and the Emerging Picture, Ross A. Thompson, Lisa J. Berlin, & Jeffry A. Simpson

Author Index

Subject Index


About the Editors

Ross A. Thompson, PhD, is Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Davis, where he directs the Social and Emotional Development Lab. Dr. Thompson studies the development of positive social motivation in young children, with a focus on the influence of early relationships. He also writes on the applications of developmental science to practice and policy related to children in poverty, early childhood mental health, and early education. He is an associate editor of Child Development, past president of Zero to Three, and a recipient of the Urie Bronfenbrenner Award for Lifetime Contribution to Developmental Psychology in the Service of Science and Society from Division 7 of the American Psychological Association.

Jeffry A. Simpson, PhD, is Distinguished University Teaching Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychology at the University of Minnesota, where he directs the Doctoral Minor in Interpersonal Relationships. Dr. Simpson’s research interests center on adult attachment processes, trust, human mating, social influence, and how early developmental experiences are related to adult health, relationship functioning, and parenting outcomes. He is a past editor of Personal Relationships and the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology: Interpersonal Relations and Group Processes, and has served as president of the International Association for Relationship Research.

Lisa J. Berlin, PhD, is Professor at the University of Maryland School of Social Work. Dr. Berlin’s multidisciplinary research program cuts across human development, psychology, social work, and public health. Her studies address early child–parent attachment as well as programs and policies for families with young children, including Early Head Start, child care, and home visiting. She is especially interested in the extent to which attachment-based interventions can improve publicly funded programs designed to support early parenting and child development. Dr. Berlin has been a Zero to Three fellow and in 2019 was named among the 100 most influential contemporary social work faculty.

Contributors

Lieselotte Ahnert, PhD, Department of Education and Psychology, Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany

Ting Ai, MA, Department of Psychology, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas

Joseph Allen, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia

Michelle E. Alto, PhD, Mt. Hope Family Center, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York

Ximena B. Arriaga, PhD, Department of Psychological Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana

Ashleigh I. Aviles, MA, Department of Human Development and Family Sciences, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas

Marian J. Bakermans-Kranenburg, PhD, Clinical Child and Family Studies, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Lisa J. Berlin, PhD, School of Social Work, University of Maryland, Baltimore, Baltimore, Maryland

Kristin Bernard, PhD, Department of Psychology, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York

Cathryn Booth-LaForce, PhD, Center on Human Development and Disability, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington

Jude Cassidy, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Maryland, College Park, College Park, Maryland

James S. Chisholm, PhD, School of Anatomy, Physiology, and Human Biology, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia

Ann Chu, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California

Dante Cicchetti, PhD, Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Judith A. Crowell, MD, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stony Brook University Medical Center, Stony Brook, New York

Mary Dozier, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware

Keely A. Dugan, BS, Department of Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, Champaign, Illinois

Katherine B. Ehrlich, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia

R. Pasco Fearon, PhD, Research Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology, University College London, London, United Kingdom

Brooke C. Feeney, PhD, Department of Psychology, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

R. Chris Fraley, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, Champaign, Illinois

Cynthia A. Frosch, PhD, Department of Educational Psychology, University of North Texas, Denton, Texas

Tiffany George, BS, Department of Psychology, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas

Omri Gillath, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas

Yuthika U. Girme, PhD, Department of Psychology, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada

Ashley M. Groh, PhD, Department of Psychological Sciences, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri

Bridget K. Hamre, PhD, Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia

Nancy Hazen, PhD, Department of Human Development and Family Studies, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas

Jeremy Holmes, MD, FRCPsych, Department of Clinical Psychology, University of Exeter, Exeter, United Kingdom

Deborah Jacobvitz, PhD, Department of Human Ecology, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas

Susan M. Johnson, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Brenda Jones Harden, PhD, School of Social Work, University of Maryland, Baltimore, Baltimore, Maryland

Heidi Keller, PhD, Faculty of Human Sciences, Universität Osnabrück, Osnabrück, Germany

Nina Koren-Karie, PhD, Center for the Study of Child Development, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel

Madoka Kumashiro, PhD, Department of Psychology, Goldsmiths, University of London, London, United Kingdom

Michael E. Lamb, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom

Alicia F. Lieberman, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California

Linxi Lu, EdM, Department of Applied Developmental and Educational Psychology, Boston College, Boston, Massachusetts

Fiona Maccallum, PhD, School of Psychology, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

Jody Todd Manly, PhD, Mt. Hope Family Center, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York

Antina Manvelian, MA, Department of Psychology, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona

Judi Mesman, PhD, Centre for Child and Family Studies, Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands

Mario Mikulincer, PhD, Baruch Ivcher School of Psychology, Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, Herzliya, Israel

Joan K. Monin, PhD, Department of Chronic Disease Epidemiology, Social and Behavioral Science Division, Yale School of Public Health, New Haven, Connecticut

Gilda Morelli, PhD, Department of Applied Developmental and Educational Psychology, Boston College, Boston, Massachusetts

Mirjam Oosterman, PhD, Clinical Child and Family Studies, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

David Oppenheim, PhD, Center for the Study of Child Development, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel

Nickola C. Overall, PhD, School of Psychology, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

Margaret Tresch Owen, PhD, Center for Children and Families, University of Texas at Dallas, Dallas, Texas

Ramona L. Paetzold, PhD, Department of Management, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas

K. Lee Raby, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah

W. Steven Rholes, PhD, Department of Psychology, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas

Glenn I. Roisman, PhD, Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota

David A. Sbarra, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona

Carlo Schuengel, PhD, Clinical and Family Studies, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Phillip R. Shaver, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of California, Davis, Davis, California

Jeffry A. Simpson, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Anna Smith, BS, Mt. Hope Family Center, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York

L. Alan Sroufe, PhD, Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Howard Steele, PhD, Department of Psychology, The New School, New York, New York

Miriam Steele, PhD, Department of Psychology, The New School, New York, New York

Ohad Szepsenwol, PhD, Department of Education and Educational Counseling, The Max Stern Yezreel Valley College, Yezreel Valley, Israel

Alessandro Talia, PhD, Institute for Psychosocial Prevention, Universität Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany

Anne Tharner, PhD, Clinical Child and Family Studies, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Ross A. Thompson, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of California, Davis, Davis, California

Sheree L. Toth, PhD, Mt. Hope Family Center, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York

Marinus H. van IJzendoorn, PhD, Department of Psychology, Education, and Child Studies, Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Jennifer Warmingham, MA, Mt. Hope Family Center, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York

Everett Waters, PhD, Department of Psychology, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York

Harriet S. Waters, PhD, Department of Psychology, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York

Theodore E. A. Waters, PhD, Department of Psychology, New York University, Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Allison West, PhD, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Baltimore, Maryland

Amanda P. Williford, PhD, Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia

Charles H. Zeanah, MD, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana

Debra M. Zeifman, PhD, Department of Psychological Science, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York

Audience

Researchers and students in developmental, social/personality, and clinical psychology.

Course Use

May serve as a supplemental text in graduate-level courses.