Clinical Implications of Attachment

By Jay Belsky; Teresa Nezworski | Go to book overview

A major issue raised in the third chapter appearing in the section of the book dealing with clinical applications of attachment theory has to do with the clinical and diagnostic utility of the Strange Situation paradigm. Put rather simply, if attachment classifications are, to a degree, predictive of later behavioral problems, can they be used to diagnose infants at-risk and initiate services for them and their families? Greenspan and Lieberman, in the course of outlining their own approach to developmental assessment, strongly articulate a position that we ourselves subscribe to; namely, that this research procedure is neither sufficiently powerful, accurate, nor comprehensive to be employed as a diagnostic clinical tool. This is not to say, however, that it cannot prove informative; as the chapter by Nezworski and her colleagues points out, not only did collateral research information reveal families of insecure infants to be under particular stress, but so too did the actual therapeutic sessions provided to mothers of insecure infants. If assessments of attachment security are to be used in making clinical diagnoses, they should not be used in isolation. To be noted, also, is the fact that the Strange Situation is by no means necessarily the best, and certainly not the only, way to evaluate the attachment relationship.


CONCLUSIONS

The discovery that individual differences in the security of infant-mother attachment possess some power in predicting later developmental difficulties serves to underscore the fact that attachment theory and research are of clinical significance. In this chapter we have sought to highlight what some of these central implications are and particularly those that are addressed in the chapters of this volume. As we have seen, they pertain to the characterization of variation in attachment relationships, the origins of such variation, the developmental consequences of attachment and, finally, explicit applications of the attachment framework to diagnosis and service delivery.


REFERENCES

Bates J., Maslin C., & Frankel K. ( 1985). Attachment security, motherchild interaction, and temperament as predictors of behavior problem ratings at age three years. In I. Bretherton & E. Waters (Eds.), Growing points in attachment theory and research. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development (pp. 167-193), Vol. 50, Nos. 1-2.

Belsky J., & Rovine M. ( 1987). Temperament and attachment security in the Strange Situation: An empirical rapproachement. Child Development, 58.

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Clinical Implications of Attachment
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Contents vii
  • Contributors xiii
  • Preface xv
  • I General Issues 1
  • 1: Clinical Implications of Attachment 3
  • References 15
  • 2: The Role of Infant-Caregiver Attachment in Development 18
  • Acknowledgment 30
  • Appendix: Attachment, Patterns of Adaptation, Continuity and Change 30
  • References 35
  • II Determinants of Attachment Security and Insecurity 39
  • 3: Maternal, Infant, and Social-Contextual Determinants of Attachment Security 41
  • Appendix: Attachment, Patterns of Adaptation, Continuity and Change 88
  • 4: Maternal Antecedents of Attachment Quality 95
  • Introduction 131
  • Appendix: Attachment, Patterns of Adaptation, Continuity and Change 132
  • 5: Relationships at Risk 136
  • Acknowledgments 164
  • References 164
  • References 167
  • III Consequences of Attachment Security and Insecurity 175
  • 6: Attachment and the Ontogeny of Conduct Problems 177
  • References 210
  • Summary and Conclusions 241
  • References 246
  • References 246
  • 8: Attachment and the Development of Behavior Problems 253
  • References 295
  • 9: Avoidance and Its Relation to Other Defensive Processes 300
  • Acknowledgments 318
  • References 318
  • IV Clinical Applications 325
  • 10: Clinical Applications of Attachment Theory 327
  • References 348
  • 11: Intervention in Insecure Infant Attachment 352
  • References 382
  • 12: A Clinical Approach to Attachment 387
  • References 415
  • Author Index 425
  • Subject Index 435
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