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Adult Attachment

one has made any major changes in the basic framework. It is increasingly clear that adult attachment can be categorized much like infant-caregiver attachment with similar prototypes and behaviors. In spite of these similarities it is looked at in a slightly different light and measured in many different ways. Ainsworth (1979) used the Strange Situation to test a child’s attachment patterns. The child was put in a room he or she had never seen with people he or she did not know without the caregiver, thus creating a “strange situation.” The researchers then observed the behavior of the child to classify them into one of the types of attachment. Adults are a little more complicated. Questionnaires and interviews are the primary ways of studying adult attachment. They differ in the extent of depth they cover and where they put their focus, either in the past or the present state of relationships. The top two facets of psychology that look at attachment are the infant-caregiver tradition and the social cognition tradition. Each subsection looks at why and how attachment is used in romantic relationships.

Helen Stein and Noel J. Jacobs (1998) give a comprehensive and clear review of the measures of adult attachment. The first to be discussed is the Adult Attachment Interview (AAI). It follows the infant-caregiver tradition originally developed by Bowlby. It was developed by George, Kaplan & Main in 1996. It is a projective, structured, semi-clinical interview used to assess the Strange Situation in adulthood. The interview involves questions about their childhood, relationships with primary caregivers, and separation and loss. The interview time can vary from 25 minutes to 2 ½ hours with an additional 14 hours to transcribe and 4-10 hours per protocol to score. Scoring is done by trained raters using an encoded form of the interview.

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