1st Edition

Understanding Adult Attachment in Family Relationships Research, Assessment and Intervention

By Antonia Bifulco, Geraldine Thomas Copyright 2013
    352 Pages
    by Routledge

    352 Pages
    by Routledge

    Attachment theory has become a key focus of both research and practice in understanding and treating psychological and social risk for marital and relationship problems, parenting and clinical disorders. In particular, adult attachment style is a key explanatory factor for understanding problems in human relationships.

    This practical book introduces and explains an easily accessible assessment tool for adult attachment style, the Attachment Style Interview (ASI). Based on extensive research study, it discusses appropriate interventions and case assessments that can be made to help families in need. Simpler than the Adult Attachment Interview, which requires expert administration, the ASI is an invaluable and evidence-based resource. Presenting clear and concise descriptions of the measure and summaries of the attachment models developed, this text provides discussions of its relevance for different practice contexts, and uses a range of worked case studies to illustrate its principles and applications. It details attachment issues in different relationship domains to cover areas of risk and resilience relevant for practice such as:

    • Adult depression and anxiety and stress models
    • Partner difficulties including domestic violence
    • Childhood neglect and abuse as a source of attachment problems
    • Parenting and intergenerational transmission of risk
    • Interventions, service application and use in family therapy.

    Understanding Adult Attachment in Family Relationships provides an important reference for all practitioners working with children, adolescents and families, especially those undertaking further study.

    1. Introduction to Attachment  2. Assessing Attachment Styles in Adults  3. Adult Attachment Style, Stress and Disorder  4. Relationships and Self Esteem  5. Attachment Style and Childhood Experience  6. Parenting and Attachment Style  7. Resilience  8. Attachment-Based Interventions and Services  9: ASI Use in Child and Family Services  10. Attachment Style and Family Dynamics  11. Conclusion 


    Antonia Bifulco is Professor of Lifespan Psychology and Social Science, Director of Lifespan Research Group, Centre for Abuse and Trauma Studies at Kingston University, London, UK.

    Geraldine Thomas is a specialist therapeutic service provider and consultant working in partnership with Early Help Services for Children, Young People and Families and Looked After Children in Kensington and Chelsea, London, UK.

    'The Attachment Style Interview is at the heart of Antonia Bifulco and Geraldine Thomas's most welcome book, summarising many years of development, research and practice. The context of their work is based on extensive qualitative and quantitative research, taking a lifespan approach, and tracking experiences back from adulthood to childhood to capture early life experiences, and forward to parenting in the next generation to look at inter-generational transmission of risk for disorder. It complements the increasingly familiar Secure, Anxious, Avoidant and Disorganised models of attachment with the capacity to relate, and provide or seek emotional support. Insights are provided into the key concepts of autonomy, trust, fear and anger in relationships. Attachment Style can be measured and is easy to use in many contexts, in research, in welfare assessments of prospective adopters, in understanding complex family relationships and orientating therapists to work most effectively with the often confusing responses of those seeking help. Just as the Attachment paradigm is recognised to have a central role in understanding human development and the need for security, the Attachment Style provides a powerful guide to assessing and understanding the nature of relationships.

    The use of extensive descriptions, and summaries of the authors' research provides an excellent introduction, and the book is highly commended to researchers and practitioners who need to 'Understand Attachments in Adult Relationships.' – Arnon Bentovim, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, Visiting Professor Royal Holloway, University of London, UK.

    ‘Employing an innovatively nuanced clinical assessment of current adult attachment relationships, the Attachment Style Interview, the authors dramatically advance research by elucidating developmental pathways from childhood adversity to adulthood psychiatric disorder. Their uniquely comprehensive work encompasses diverse social-contextual influences on parenting, resilience, and disorder as they interact with attachment styles. Carefully crafted for a wide readership, this landmark contribution will be an indispensable resource for researchers, therapists, students, and social service personnel involved in child protection, adoption, foster care, and residential treatment.’ – Jon G. Allen, Ph.D., Senior Staff Psychologist, The Menninger Clinic, and Professor of Psychiatry in the Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, USA.