Clinical assessment of attachment patterns and personality disorder in adolescents and adults

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Abstract

The relevance of attachment theory and research for practice has become increasingly clear. The authors describe a series of studies with 3 aims: (a) to validate measures of attachment for use by clinicians with adolescents and adults, (b) to examine the relation between attachment and personality pathology, and (c) to ascertain whether factor analysis can recover dimensions of attachment reflecting both interpersonal and narrative style. In 3 studies, experienced clinicians provided psychometric data using 1 of 4 attachment questionnaires (2 adolescent and 2 adult samples). Attachment dimensions predicted both personality pathology and developmental experiences in predictable ways. Factor analysis identified 4 dimensions that replicated across adolescent and adult samples on the basis of a combination of interpersonal and narrative indicators: secure, dismissing, preoccupied, and incoherent/disorganized.

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Westen, D., Nakash, O., Thomas, C., & Bradley, R. (2006). Clinical assessment of attachment patterns and personality disorder in adolescents and adults. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 74(6), 1065–1085. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-006X.74.6.1065

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