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Contemporary Theory and Research on Adult Attachment: Where is the Field Today?

  • Susanne Bennett
  • Judith Kay Nelson
Chapter
Part of the Essential Clinical Social Work Series book series (ECSWS)

Abstract

Attachment theory took a major leap forward in the mid-1980s with the expansion of research into the study of adult attachment. Ainsworth’s (1967) early observations of mother–infant attachment patterns served as a foundation for others to conceptualize how adult attachments are formed and whether they are related to those observed in young children. Based on Bowlby’s (1969/1982) assumption that internal working models of attachment exist throughout the lifespan, researchers explored whether adults are secure or insecure in their patterns of relating. This chapter summarizes contemporary adult attachment research and gives an overview of empirical measures. The Adult Attachment Interview (AAI) and several self-report measures are discussed in terms of their usefulness to understand adult attachment processes. The chapter also explores theoretical questions being answered by this growing body of research and the new directions being taken in the study of adult attachments in clinical relationships.

Keywords

Borderline Personality Disorder Attachment Style Insecure Attachment Attachment Anxiety Adult Attachment 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Catholic School of Social ServiceThe Catholic University of AmericaWashingtonUSA

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