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Attachment theory in adult psychiatry. Part 1: Conceptualisations, measurement and clinical research findings

  • Kenneth Ma
Abstract

Since its original conception by Bowlby to explain an important evolutionary function of the child–caregiver relationship, attachment theory has been supported by much empirical research in a variety of settings. However, although attachment theory began as a clinical enterprise, its wider application to the everyday clinical understanding of adult mental health problems has lagged behind the available research. The theory can afford valuable insight not only into the developmental nature of common psychiatric disorders, but also into the development of the therapeutic relationship. This article gives an overview of (a) the current conceptualisations of attachment and the measurement of attachment for clinical research purposes and (b) the application of attachment theory to different psychopathologies. The importance of attachment to the therapeutic relationship will be discussed in a future article.

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BJPsych Advances
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Attachment theory in adult psychiatry. Part 1: Conceptualisations, measurement and clinical research findings

  • Kenneth Ma
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