Attachment from Infancy to Adulthood: The Major Longitudinal Studies

Attachment from Infancy to Adulthood: The Major Longitudinal Studies

Attachment from Infancy to Adulthood: The Major Longitudinal Studies

Attachment from Infancy to Adulthood: The Major Longitudinal Studies

Synopsis

"This volume comprises unique and valuable firsthand accounts of the most important longitudinal studies of attachment. Presented are a range of research programs that have broadened our understanding of early close relationships and their role in individual adaptation throughout life. This book will be read with interest by anyone interested in attachment, including researchers and students in developmental and clinical psychology, human development, and family studies, as well as clinicians working with children and families. It will serve as an informative text in graduate-level courses." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

Life courses or individual development can only be adequately understood longitudinally. Cross-sectional studies provide valuable comparisons among individuals at certain points in their lives. But the actual trajectories of individuals' lives are only accessible when the same people are studied at different ages. Longitudinal studies therefore have a long history in developmental research. And yet, because they are always designed and interpreted in the context of prevailing theory, methods, and culture, they are never entirely satisfactory. The coherence and impact of a longitudinal study depend on a productive back-and-forth movement between meaning, provided by a rich theoretical framework, and methods for translating theory into age-appropriate assessment. Ultimately, coherence and meaning also depend on the context provided by other studies, and certainly on future developments regarding the value of close bonds between children and parents.

No area in developmental psychology has a richer legacy of truly longterm longitudinal studies than attachment research in the Bowlby–Ainsworth tradition. The major longitudinal studies of attachment and its role in individual development are masterpieces of methodological problem solving and monuments to developmental analysis. Their key results are well known and widely cited. But each study touches on a wide range of topics, and results are necessarily reported in diverse venues and over the span of many years. Consequently, key results often stand out more clearly than the overall design of the studies. Solutions to difficult problems in ageappropriate assessment, research design, and theoretical work are rarely or only occasionally at center stage. These insights into the art of longitudinal research are as satisfying as specific empirical results, and as important to pass on to the next generation of longitudinal researchers.

In organizing this volume, we have invited the principal investigators from three decades of longitudinal attachment studies to reflect on how their projects originated, on the shape they eventually took, and on how . . .

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