Attachment and Caregiving for Elders Within African-American Families

  • Susanne Bennett
  • Michael J. Sheridan
  • Barbara Soniat
Part of the Essential Clinical Social Work Series book series (ECSWS)


Issues at the heart of clinical work with elders – loss, bereavement, and ­caregiving – are central to attachment theory. As Bowlby (1969/1982) famously proposed, attachment behavior plays a “vital role” in human life “from the cradle to the grave” (p. 208). Bowlby’s theory and the subsequent research on attachment across the life cycle provide a framework for viewing relationships between elder adults and their caregivers. The theory clarifies coping strategies in times of stress in late life and suggests that the caregiving styles of adults are linked to the early attachment bonds they experienced with their parents. At this stage of life, attachment patterns established early in life become activated in ways that are unique to the cultural context of the family unit (Fiori, Consedine, & Magai, 2009). This chapter addresses some of the attachment issues and cultural manifestations that emerge in late adulthood, ­highlighting, in particular, African-American caregivers of elders.


Adult Child Attachment Style Secure Attachment Adult Attachment Intrinsic Religiosity 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susanne Bennett
    • 1
  • Michael J. Sheridan
  • Barbara Soniat
  1. 1.National Catholic School of Social ServiceThe Catholic University of AmericaWashingtonUSA

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