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Family patterns of relationship in normative and dysfunctional families

  • Patricia M. Crittenden (a1), Mary F. Partridge (a1) and Angelika H. Claussen (a1)

The relation among family relationships was explored for (a) couple pairings and (b) parent-child dyads. In S3 maltreating and adequate families, mothers' and male partners' quality of attachment (drawn from interviews) was compared with each other and with child quality of attachment (drawn from the Strange Situation). The notion of internal representational models, drawn from attachment theory, provided the basis for seeking continuity, that is, matches and meshes between partners and coherence from parent to child. Both concordance and discordance were found; in particular, a hypothesis of meshed adult relationships and parent-child transformations was supported. The conditions leading to meshed partnerships and transformed parent-to-child patterns require further study. In addition, the results suggest the need for greater incorporation of regulation of affect in assessment procedures, greater theory development, and precision in validation and application of assessment procedures. Finally, this study highlights the advantages of using atypical samples to explore aspects of normative development that are obscured in normative samples.

Corresponding author
Address reprint requests to: Patricia M. Crittenden, P.O. Box 016820 (D-820), Miami, FL 33101.
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Development and Psychopathology
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