Attachment in the Family Context: Insights from Development and Clinical Work

  • Janet ShapiroEmail author
Part of the Essential Clinical Social Work Series book series (ECSWS)


The formation of stable relational bonds that function to provide security and ­support developmental growth is described as a primary task of family development across cultures (Ainsworth, Blehar, Waters, & Wall, 1978; Bowlby, 1969/1982; Posada et al., 2002; Rothbaum, Rosen, Ujiie, & Uchida, 2002). Secure attachment bonds acquired within the family system confer developmental advantages on family members by providing safety, emotional security, adaptive mechanisms for the regulation of affective experience, the mediation of stress, and support for the development of autonomy and identity (Akister & Reibstein, 2004; Johnson, 2004; Schore & Schore, 2008; Siegel, 2001). Research on attachment relationships in families emphasizes the quality of ­psychological ties – whether secure or insecure – within the family as a more important mediator of developmental well-being than the particular structure of the family context (Shapiro, Shapiro, & Paret, 2001). This literature is particularly relevant to social work practitioners who seek to bring a strengths perspective to work with nontraditional families or parents and children in a broad range of social contexts and situations.


Foster Care Attachment Theory Intergenerational Transmission Family Context Adolescent Mother 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social WorkBryn Mawr CollegeBryn MawrUSA

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