This study examined the relationship between psychiatric symptomatology and the representations of attachment relationships held by adults with serious psychopathological disorders. Psychiatric symtomatology was assessed by self-report and three sets of expert ratings. Seventy-six persons with serious psychopathological disorders were included as participants. As expected, persons relying on hyperactivating strategies of attachment reported generally more psychiatric symptoms than did those relying on deactivating strategies of attachment. However, the three sets of experts rated persons relying on deactivating strategies as more symptomatic than others. More specifically, interviewers who conducted Quality of Life Interviews rated dismissing subjects as exhibiting looser thinking than others. Interviewers who conducted Attachment Interviews rated dismissing subjects as experiencing more delusions, hallucinations, and suspiciousness, and case managers rated dismissing subjects as generally more psychotic. These findings suggest that, although greater preoccupation with attachment issues is associated with more acknowledgment of distress generally and symptoms specifically, greater reliance on deactivating strategies may be associated with greater symptomatology observed by others.
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