ATTACHMENT AND CORE RELATIONSHIP THEMES: WISHES FOR AUTONOMY AND CLOSENESS IN THE NARRATIVES OF SECURELY AND INSECURELY ATTACHED ADULTS

Citation:

Waldinger, R. J., Seidman, E. L., Gerber, A. J., Liem, J. H., Allen, J. P., & Hauser, S. T. (2003). ATTACHMENT AND CORE RELATIONSHIP THEMES: WISHES FOR AUTONOMY AND CLOSENESS IN THE NARRATIVES OF SECURELY AND INSECURELY ATTACHED ADULTS. Psychotherapy Research , 13 (1), 77-98.

Abstract:

This study examines links between attachment states of mind and relationship schemas in a sample of 40 young adults, half of whom were hospitalized as adolescents for psychiatric treatment. Participants were interviewed about their closest relationships, and, using the Core Conflictual Relationship Theme method, their narratives about these relationships were analyzed for the relative frequency with which they expressed wishes for closeness and for autonomy in relation to others. Participants were also administered the Adult Attachment Interview and were classified with respect to security of attachment. Security of attachment was associated with the relative frequency with which participants expressed wishes for autonomy in their narratives about close relationships, even after accounting for current levels of psychological functioning and history of serious psychopathology in adolescence. Security of attachment was not associated with the relative frequency with which participants expressed wishes for closeness. The study suggests that core relational wishes for autonomy are linked specifically with subtypes of insecure attachment. These findings extend what is known about connections between the representation of early attachment relationships and the wishes and needs expressed in current relationships with significant others.

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