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NCJ Number: 182345 Find in a Library
Title: Validity of Attachment Theory
Journal: Trauma, Violence, and Abuse  Volume:1  Issue:2  Dated:April 2000  Pages:128-153
Author(s): Rebecca M. Bolen
Date Published: April 2000
Page Count: 26
Type: Literature Review
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A review of empirical literature focused on the assumption that attachment theory is valid, because discussions of abuse and violence have increasingly used attachment theory to understand these issues.
Abstract: The review addressed the hypotheses that attachment: (1) has a biological or physiological base, (2) is universal, (3) is intergenerationally transmitted, (4) is transmitted from caregiver to infant, and (5) is predictive and dynamic but largely stable across time. Results revealed some empirical support for all these hypotheses and encouraging meta-analyses of certain of these hypotheses, but the literature had contradictory findings. The hypothesis with the greatest empirical support is that attachment is stable, predictive, and dynamic. Therefore, support for attachment theory remains equivocal, and the limits of this theory are not clearly defined. These limitations do not preclude the use of the theory in trauma literature, but professionals must remain aware of these limitations. It is essential that attachment theory remain value neutral so that it does not become an excuse for punishing victims or their families. Finally, this theory contributes to understanding only at the level of the individual and the family; a narrow focus on these ecological levels will seriously undermine efforts to understand causal patterns of violence, and abuse, which are best conceptualized at the macro level. Author biography, 4 suggested readings, and 111 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile delinquency factors
Index Term(s): Child abuse causes; Children at risk; Parent-Child Relations; Parental attitudes; Parental influence; Violence causes
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