Advertisement

Contemporary Family Therapy

, Volume 35, Issue 3, pp 508–515 | Cite as

A Multicultural Application of Attachment Theory with Immigrant Families: Contextual and Developmental Adaptations

  • Rachel M. Mirecki
  • Jessica L. Chou
Original Paper

Abstract

This article explores attachment theory from a multicultural perspective to highlight adaptive considerations for immigrant families. The specific considerations of the theory reviewed are (1) attachment sensitivity based on social and cultural context and (2) the effect of maturation on families’ developmental needs and how this can be integrated within context. A case conceptualization of a Bosnian immigrant family living within the United States will highlight potential variations in the adaptation process. How therapists can support in providing culturally-sensitive applications of attachment theory to promote family relationships will be discussed.

Keywords

Attachment theory Immigrant families Multicultural issues 

References

  1. Ainsworth, M. D. S. (1967). Infancy in Uganda: Infant care and the growth of love. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Ainsworth, M. D. S., Blehar, M. C., Waters, E., & Wall, S. (1978). Patterns of attachment: A psychological study of the strange situation. Hillsdale: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  3. Baptiste, D. A. (2005). Family therapy with East Indian immigrant parents rearing children in the United States: Parental concerns, therapeutic issues, and recommendations. Contemporary Family Therapy, 27(3), 345–366. doi: 10.1007/s10591-005-6214-9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bowlby, J. (1971). Attachment and loss: Attachment (Vol. I). Harmondsworth: Penguin.Google Scholar
  5. Cassidy, J., & Shaver, P. R. (2008). Preface. In J. Cassidy & P. R. Shaver (Eds.), Handbook of attachment: Theory, research, and clinical application (2nd ed., pp. xi–xvi). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  6. Claussen, A. H., & Crittenden, P. M. (2000). Maternal sensitivity. In P. M. Crittenden & A. H. Claussen (Eds.), The organization of attachment relationships: Maturation, culture, and context (pp. 115–122). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Cook-Darzens, S., & Brunod, R. (1999). An ecosystemic approach to improving mother-infant attachment in Caribbean matrifocal society. Contemporary Family Therapy, 21(4), 433–452. doi: 10.1023/A:1021619003748.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Coughlan, R., & Owens-Manley, J. (2006). Bosnian refugees in America: New communities, new cultures. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  9. Cowan, P. A., & Cowan, C. P. (2007). Attachment theory: Seven unresolved issues and questions for future research. Research in Human Development, 4(3–4), 181–201. doi: 10.1080/15427600701663007.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Crittenden, P. M. (2000). A dynamic maturational exploration of the meaning of security and adaptation: Empirical, cultural, and theoretical considerations. In P. M. Crittenden & A. H. Claussen (Eds.), The organization of attachment relationships: Maturation, culture, and context (pp. 358–416). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Howes, C., & Spieker, S. (2008). Attachment relationships in the context of multiple caregivers. In J. Cassidy & P. R. Shaver (Eds.), Handbook of attachment: Theory, research, and clinical applications (2nd ed., pp. 317–332). New York: The Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  12. Hughes, D. A. (2007). Attachment-focused family therapy. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.Google Scholar
  13. Jordan, J. V., Kaplan, A. G., Miller, J. B., Stiver, I. P., & Surrey, J. L. (1991). Women’s growth in connection: Writings from the stone center. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  14. Morris, J., & Lee, Y. (2004). Issues of language and culture in family therapy training. Contemporary Family Therapy, 26, 307–318. doi: 10.1023/B:COFT.0000037917.67940.7c.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Rothbaum, F., Weisz, J., Pott, M., Miyake, K., & Morelli, G. (2000). Attachment and culture: Security in the United States and Japan. American Psychologist, 55(10), 1093–1104. doi: 10.1037/0003-066X.55.10.1093.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. United States Department of Homeland Security. (2011). Yearbook of immigration statistics: 2010. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Immigration Statistics.Google Scholar
  17. Van Ijzendoorn, M. H. (1990). Developments in cross-cultural research on attachment: Some methodological notes. Human Development, 33(1), 3–9. doi: 10.1159/000276498.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Van Ijzendoorn, M. H., & Sagi-Schwartz, A. (2008). Cross-cultural patterns of attachment: Universal and contextual dimensions. In J. Cassidy & P. R. Shaver (Eds.), Handbook of attachment: Theory, research, and clinical applications (2nd ed., pp. 880–905). New York: The Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  19. Weine, S., Muzurovic, N., Kulauzovic, Y., Besic, S., Lezic, A., Mujagic, A., et al. (2004). Family consequences of refugee trauma. Family Process, 43(2), 147–160. doi: 10.1111/j.1545-5300.2004.04302002.x.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Counseling and Family TherapySaint Louis UniversitySt. LouisUSA

Personalised recommendations