CSAR

Attachment Theory

  • Dysregulation of the Right Brain: a Fundamental Mechanism of Traumatic Attachment and the Psychopathogenesis of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
  • Objective: This review integrates recent advances in attachment theory, affective neuroscience, developmental stress research, and infant psychiatry in order to delineate the developmental precursors of posttraumatic stress disorder. Method: Existing attachment, stress physiology, trauma, and neuroscience literatures were collected using Index Medicus/Medline and Psychological Abstracts. This converging interdisciplinary data was used as a theoretical base for modelling the effects of early relational trauma on the developing central and autonomic nervous system activities that drive attachment functions. Results: Current trends that integrate neuropsychiatry, infant psychiatry, and clinical psychiatry are generating more powerful models of the early genesis of a predisposition to psychiatric disorders, including PTSD. Data are presented which suggest that traumatic attachments, expressed in episodes of hyperarousal and dissociation, are imprinted into the developing limbic and autonomic nervous systems of the early maturing right brain. These enduring structural changes lead to the inefficient stress coping mechanisms that lie at the core of infant, child, and adult posttraumatic stress disorders. Conclusions: Disorganised-disoriented insecure attachment, a pattern common in infants abused in the first 2 years of life, is psychologically manifest as an inability to generate a coherent strategy for coping with relational stress. Early abuse negatively impacts the developmental trajectory of the right brain, dominant for attachment, affect regulation, and stress modulation, thereby setting a template for the coping deficits of both mind and body that characterise PTSD symptomatology. These data suggest that early intervention programs can significantly alter the intergenerational transmission of posttraumatic stress disorders....

  • Understanding Maltreating Mothers: A Synthesis of Relational Trauma, Attachment Disorganization, Structural Dissociation of the Personality, and Experiential Avoidance
  • Treatment options are limited for families in which the child has severe and intractable disturbances of emotion and behavior, in which there is suspected or confirmed maltreatment by the mother, and in which the mother has her own history of childhood neglect and abuse. This paper proposes a model for understanding mal- treatment in mother–child dyads, drawing upon the developmental psychopathology, behavior, and trauma literatures. At the core of this model is the hypothesis that a mother’s maltreating behav- ior arises from unconscious attempts to experientially avoid the reemergence of an attachment-related dissociative part of the per- sonality that contains the distress arising from her own early experiences of attachment relationships. The implications of this model for therapy are considered. ...

  • An Attachment Perspective on Psychopathology
  • In recent years, attachment theory, which was originally formulated to describe and explain infant-parent emotional bonding, has been applied to the study of adolescent and adult romantic relationships and then to the study of psychological processes, such as interpersonal functioning, emotion regulation, coping with stress, and mental health. In this paper, we offer a brief overview of the attachment perspective on psychopathology. Following a brief account of attachment theory, we go on to explain how the study of individual differences in adult attachment intersects with the study of psychopathology....

  • An Ethological Approach to Personality Development – Ainsworth & Bowlby
  • This is a historical account of the partnership in which Bowlby and Ainsworth participated to develop attachment theory and research. Beginning with their separate approaches to understanding personality development before Ainsworth joined Bowlby's research team at the Tavistock Clinic in London for 4 years, it describes the origins of the ethological approach that they adopted. After Ainsworth left London, her research in Uganda and in Baltimore lent empirical support to Bowlby's theoretical constructions. The article shows how their contributions to attachment theory and research interdigitated in a partnership that endured for 40 years across time and distance. ...

Search for Articles and Tests

Recent Posts

© 2017 CSAR - Center for the Study of Affect Regulation All rights reserved.