Academic journal article Journal of Marriage and Family

Handbook of Attachment: Theory, Research, and Clinical Applications

Academic journal article Journal of Marriage and Family

Handbook of Attachment: Theory, Research, and Clinical Applications

Article excerpt

Handbook of Attachment: Theory, Research, and Clinical Applications. Jude Cassidy & Phillip R. Shaver (Eds.). New York: Guilford. 1999. 925 pp. ISBN 1-57230-087-6. $85.00 cloth.

The Handbook of Attachment is exactly what its title implies, a guide to the enormous literature on attachment. This book not only gives the historical perspective on John Bowlby's articulation of attachment theory and on Mary Ainsworth's early empirical work studying attachment relationships but also documents how attachment theory has evolved. It also raises issues that must be dealt with if this theoretical perspective is to continue to serve as the basis for future research. In general, this volume serves as a guide not only to past work in the area, but also to future work. In this way it is engaging and thought provoking.

The Handbook is organized into six sections. The first section provides an overview of attachment theory. Jude Cassidy's and Phillip Shaver's intentions were not to replace Bowlby's and Ainsworth's pivotal publications on attachment but to provide readers with a single source where they can, in a relatively concise manner, become versed in some of the major theoretical issues of attachment theory. Whereas there is some necessary overlap between the chapters in this section, if a reader chooses to read them all, he or she will gain a rich understanding of attachment theory both as it was originally proposed and how it has evolved. The second section in some ways also expands on Bowlby's original attachment theory. The biological perspectives of this section demonstrate that Bowlby's early ethological orientation should not be neglected as we seek greater understanding of human attachments. In fact, these chapters provide compelling evidence that current work in psychobiology and evolutionary psychology will help us to better understand the formation of attachment bonds in humans.

The third and fourth sections document and raise issues about the role of attachment across the life span. The third section focuses on attachment in infancy and childhood and the fourth on attachment in adolescence and adulthood. These sections highlight the normative changes in the attachment system and the development of individual differences in attachment orientation. The chapters in these sections also raise important issues about the continuity of attachment. …

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