Accounting For Varying Attachment Presentations

This literature review aims to provide a chronological overview of peer-reviewed research which assess the capability of attachment theory to account for the variance in an individual’s presentation of attachment styles in different social contexts. It stands on the assumption that an individual may present, for example avoidant with one person and anxious with another, and asks what variables account for such variance. This review hypothesizes that this variance exists and is accounted by variables outside the current scope of attachment theory. It was found in research spanning from 2002 to 2016 that attachment style has a limited capacity to account for triadic attachment dilemmas, that a secure dyadic presentation may morph to an insecure triadic presentation, and that attachment style may in fact be a part of the systemic concept of differentiation of self as mediated by triangulation in the nuclear family. This review did not directly produce a concept which accounts for variations in attachment presentation, but suggests triangulation mediated by differentiation of self as a possibility for future research.


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Attachment and Differentiation

I’ve always wondered exactly how attachment theory fit into Bowen Theory. For example, how does Bowen reconcile the similar sibling attachment styles described in Attachment Theory? How would Attachment Theory describe “unresolved symbiosis with the primary caregiver?” Writing this paper gave me the chance to find out.

EDIT: This paper is followed by Accounting for Varying Attachment Presentations, which follows up with a tighter examination of the topic using peer-reviewed studies and includes more details about what can and cannot be compared between the two theories.

Attachment and Differentiation: The Role of Attachment in the Pathological Family System

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