Attachment Theory II
Geoff Goodman, Ph.D.
I. Three Influential Attachment
Theorist
A.
B.
C.
John Bowlby
Mary Ainsworth
Mary Main
II. John Bowlby
A.
Internal working models (IWMs)
1. accurate representations of reality
2. expectations of caregiver behavior
3. nonenergic phenomena
Continued…
B. Defensive processes
1. defensive exclusion
a. denial of the awareness of painful
reality
b. related to selective attention
c. nonenergic phenomenon
2. cognitive disconnection
a. displacement of attachment-- specific
information onto another source
b. nonenergic phenomena
III. Mary Ainsworth
A. Three attachment patterns
1. secure (B)
2. anxious- avoidant (A)
3. anxious- resistant (C)
B. Development of Strange Situation
1. infants (12-18 months)
2. modified for older children (3-6 years)
3. stability of attachment
a. 64% after 20 years
b. 70% with no major life events
IV. Mary Main
A.
Discovery of disorganized (D)
attachment
absence of strategy for managing
attachment strategy (fight or flight,
approach or avoidance conflict)
2. assigned along with a secondary
organized category
3. associated with maternal
psychopathology, abuse, unresolved loss
prior to adulthood (frightened/ frightening
behavior)
1.
Continued…
4. assessment of attachment at level of
mental representation
a. Attachment Story- Completion
Task (ASCT)
1) ages 3-9
2) responses to five story stems
(spilled juice, hurt knee,
monster in bedroom, departure,
reunion)
Continued…
b. Adult Attachment Interview (AAI)
1) ages 13 and up
2) responses to 20 questions about
relationships to parents between ages 5
and 12
3) same four attachment categories (F,
Ds, E, U)
Continued…
c. Adult Attachment Projection (AAP)
1) ages 13 and up
2) responses to 8 ambiguously drawn,
attachment-relevant pictures
3) same four attachment categories (F,
Ds, E, U)
Continued…
d. Parental IWM of relationship with child
1) Parent Development Interview
2) Mother-To-Child Object
Representation/ Internal Working Model
Q-Sort (r =.90, p <.001)
3) Parental Caregiving Interview
4) The Working Model of the Child
Interview (categorical)
V. Comparison and Contrast Between
Object Relations Theory and Attachment
Theory
A.
Mental representations similar
1. cognitive- affective schemata
2. provide affectively charged information about
object, self, and self-in-relation-to-object
3. internalization of episodic memories
B. Gratification of endogenous needs
1. object representations-- libido and
aggression
2. internal working models-- attachment needs
(self- preservative drives from Freud)
C. Accuracy of mental
representations
1. IWMs-- accurate representations of
reality that become distorted over time
as infant accommodates reality of
mother’s availability
2. object representations-- distortions of
reality based on projection and
introjection of infant’s own drive
derivatives (e.g., temperament)
D. Reliance on different kinds of
casual inference
1. object relations theory-- retrospective data
a. reconstruction of past
b. false assumptions possible (e.g.,
D--> aggression)
2. attachment theory-- prospective data
a. longitudinal observations over time
b. less concerned with subjective
experience
c. acknowledgement of risk and protective
factors
E. Developmental model of
psychopathology
1. stage theory
a. humanity moves from psychopathology to mental health
b. psychopathology-- fixation-- regression at earlier stage
of development (e.g., psychosexual, separationindividuation)
2. developmental pathways (Bowlby’s)/ continuous
construction (Zeanah) model
a. deviance from mental health only for some persons
b. psychopathology-- development continuously along its
own pathway
3. accusations of each model as
“static”
a.
b.
c.
object representation-- fixed at
particular point in development
internal working model--increasingly
resistant to change (Bowlby)
broad categories that fail to
discriminate levels of adaptive
functioning and development
Continued…
4. floor effects of both models
5. distinction between quality of mental
representations and level of adaptive
functioning (e.g., Saddam Hussein, my child
patient (.90))
6. graphic differences between these two
models
a. unidimensional (quality, complexity,
differentiation, integration)
b. two-dimensional (security- anxiety,
deactivating- hyperactivating)
VI. New Model of Object
Representations and IWMs
A.
Kernberg’s theory of personality
organization
1. neurotic
a. secure IWM
b. integrated, differentiated object
representation
2. borderline
a. insecure IWM
1) preoccupied-- hyperactivating
2) dismissing-- deactiviating
b. split-off, less differentiated object
representation
3. psychotic
a. unresolved IWM?
1) dissociative phenomena
2) disorientation
b. undifferentiated object representations
B. Application of Kernberg’s Theory to
Structure of Internal Working Models
1.
2.
developmental pathways model
borderline personality organization
a. with pathological grandiose self (NPD)
b. without pathological grandiose self (BPD)
c. unresolved category placed on preoccupied-hyperactivating end of continuum
3. preoccupied and dismissing individuals have
similarly low conceptual level of object
representation complexity
C. Different levels of abstraction between object
representations and internal working models