Clinical Implications of Attachment

By Jay Belsky; Teresa Nezworski | Go to book overview

5
Relationships at Risk

Patricia M. Crittenden Mailman Center for Child Development University of Miami

Risk status is generally attributed to individuals. However, relationships between individuals can also be at risk for deterioration or termination. This can occur when the individuals are so displeased with each other that one or both consider abandoning the relationship (either physically or emotionally). Risk to relationship is particularly evident in cases of child abuse and neglect. As the extent of maltreatment becomes greater, one may assume that the internal threat to the parent-child relationship will increase. Furthermore, at some point, if the maltreatment is severe enough, society will intervene on the child's behalf and pose the external threat of separation in the form of foster care. In such cases, not only is the child at risk of continued maltreatment, but also the parent-child relationship is at risk of dissolution. This chapter focuses on: (a) the theoretical aspects of risks to relationships; (b) the empirical evidence of such risk and its influence on child development; and (c) the process of assessing risk to relationships. The chapter includes the results of an investigation aimed specifically at these issues.

A focus on risk to relationships in maltreating dyads is of theoretical interest because of the light it sheds on the essential nature of the attachment of the child to the parent. Evidence that attachment occurs in the absence of the emotional warmth associated with the concept of love will indicate that the attachment aspect of a relationship is both functionally and behaviorally distinct from other aspects of the relationship. Evidence of atypical patterns of attachment behavior accompanying risk to relationships will expand our understanding of the evolutionary adaptiveness of attachment behavior. The focus on risk to relationships is also of practi-

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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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