Attachment and Psychopathology. A Lifespan Perspective

Judy Ungerer*, Catherine McMahon

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)


    The chapter examines the developmental nature of changes in children's attachment relationships with their parents. There are four phases in the development of attachment relationships, three of which occur in the first year of life. Between birth and two-three months of age, infants respond to their human caregivers in the ways that increase the likelihood that interaction will occur. Changes in attachment relationships continue to occur beyond the first few years of life. During the preschool period, as children's language skills become more developed, children become less reliant on actual physical proximity and contact to manage their attachment needs. One of the most important contributions of the attachment theory, particularly as it relates to the significance of early attachment relationships for children's long term healthy psychological development, is the identification of individual differences in the quality of attachment relationships. Despite the importance attributed to early experiences in setting up adaptive or maladaptive pathways, the attachment theory also acknowledges the possibility for change in a positive direction and thus provides a model for psychological resiliency.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationPsychopathology and the Family
    EditorsJ.L Hudson, R.M. Rapee
    Place of PublicationAmsterdam, The Netherlands
    Number of pages18
    ISBN (Print)9780080444499
    Publication statusPublished - 2005


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