Attachment and interpersonal problems in a prison environment

  • Ross T
  • Pfäfflin F
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This study investigated the relationship between attachment styles, interpersonal problem areas, and violent behaviour in German offenders compared with two nonviolent comparison groups living in the community. To measure attachment, a semi-structured interview designed to identify and classify prototypes of attachment was applied. Interpersonal problems were assessed with a self-report measure. Offenders showed less secure attachment styles, more instability in relationships, less emotional attachment to others, and a strong wish for personal autonomy, but most interpersonal problem areas did not differ across the groups. Violent offenders are by no means all insecurely attached. Their results match with those of any socially disadvantaged, non-clinical group. The implications of these findings are discussed.

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  • Thomas Ross

  • Friedemann Pfäfflin

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