Neglect and Attachment Insecurity

  • Nicole A. Sciarrino
  • Tyler Elizabeth Hernandez
  • Jennifer Davidtz
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Psychology book series (BRIEFSPSYCHOL)


The parent-infant relationship serves as a blueprint for future relationships with others and the world. From this relationship, the infant learns whether he can depend on others to meet his needs, whether he can communicate with others effectively, and whether it is safe to explore his world. Attachment theory postulates that the parent-infant relationship provides the infant with the first opportunity to form a secure attachment to another human being, ideally characterized by warmth, trust, synchronicity, and reciprocity (Bowlby, 1969). However, in cases of childhood neglect, the parent or caregiver has not provided the scaffolding necessary for establishing a secure attachment. Consequently, neglect has been linked to increased psychological problems (e.g., depression and anxiety) and attachment insecurity in children and adolescents (Claussen & Crittenden, 1991; Gauthier, Stollak, Messé, & Aronoff, 1996; Hobbs & Wynne, 2002; Shipman, Edwards, Brown, Swisher, & Jennings, 2005). This chapter will include a brief discussion of attachment theory, attachment insecurity, and the impact of neglect on attachment. Additionally, implications for romantic relationships for individuals reared in a neglectful family of origin will be discussed.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicole A. Sciarrino
    • 1
    • 2
  • Tyler Elizabeth Hernandez
    • 2
    • 3
  • Jennifer Davidtz
    • 2
  1. 1.James A. Haley Veterans’ HospitalTampaUSA
  2. 2.Nova Southeastern UniversityFort LauderdaleUSA
  3. 3.Henderson Behavioral HealthHollywoodUSA

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