Advertisement

Neglect and Attachment Insecurity

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

Abstract

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.

References

  1. Ainsworth, M. D. S., & Wittig, B. A. (1969). Attachment and exploratory behavior of one-year-olds in a strange situation. In B. M. Foss (Ed.), Determinants of infant behavior (Vol. 4, pp. 111–136). London: Methuen.Google Scholar
  2. Ainsworth, M. D. S., & Bell, S. M. (1970). Attachment, exploration, and separation: Illustrated by the behavior of one-year-olds in a strange situation. Child Development, 41, 49–67. doi: 10.2307/1127388 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Alexander, P. C. (2009). Childhood trauma, attachment, and abuse by multiple partners. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 1, 78–88.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0015254 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Allen, R. E., & Oliver, J. M. (1982). The effects of child maltreatment on language development. Child Abuse & Neglect, 6, 299–305.  https://doi.org/10.1016/0145-2134(82)90033-3 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bifulco, A., Kwon, J., Jacobs, C., Moran, P. M., Bunn, A., & Beer, N. (2006). Adult attachment style as mediator between childhood neglect/abuse and adult depression and anxiety. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 41, 796–805.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s00127-006-0101-z CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Borelli, J. L., Compare, A., Snavely, J. E., & Decio, V. (2015). Reflective functioning moderates the association between perceptions of parental neglect and attachment in adolescence. Psychoanalytic Psychology, 32, 23–35.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0037858 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bowlby, J. (1969). Attachment and loss. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  8. Boyd, R. C., Zayas, L. H., & McKee, M. D. (2006). Mother-infant interaction, life events and prenatal and postpartum depressive symptoms among urban minority women in primary care. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 10, 139–148.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10995-005-0042-2 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Bretherton, I. (1992). The origins of attachment theory: John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth. Developmental Psychology, 28, 759.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0012-1649.28.5.759 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Claussen, A. H., & Crittenden, P. M. (1991). Physical and psychological maltreatment: Relations among types of maltreatment. Child Abuse & Neglect, 15, 5–18.  https://doi.org/10.1016/0145-2134(91)90085-R CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Collins, N. L., & Allard, L. M. (2001). Cognitive representations of attachment: The content and function of working models. Blackwell Handbook of Social Psychology: Interpersonal Processes, 2, 60–85.  https://doi.org/10.1002/9780470998557.ch3 Google Scholar
  12. Crockett, L. J., & Randall, B. A. (2006). Linking adolescent family and peer relationships to the quality of young adult romantic relationships: The mediating role of conflict tactics. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 23, 761–780.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0265407506068262 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Dean, A. L., Malik, M. M., Richards, W., & Stringer, S. A. (1986). Effects of parental maltreatment on children’s conceptions of interpersonal relationships. Developmental Psychology, 22, 617–626.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0012-1649.22.5.617 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Erickson, M. F., Egeland, B., & Pianta, R. (1989). The effects of maltreatment on the development of young children. In D. Cicchetti & V. Carlson (Eds.), Child maltreatment (pp. 647–684). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Frodi, A., & Smetana, J. (1984). Abused, neglected, and nonmaltreated preschoolers’ ability to discriminate emotions in others: The effects of IQ. Child Abuse & Neglect, 8, 459–465.  https://doi.org/10.1016/0145-2134(84)90027-9 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gauthier, L., Stollak, G., Messé, L., & Aronoff, J. (1996). Recall of childhood neglect and physical abuse as differential predictors of current psychological functioning. Child Abuse & Neglect, 20, 549–559.  https://doi.org/10.1016/0145-2134(96)00043-9 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Glaser, D. (2000). Child abuse and neglect and the brain—A review. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 41, 97–116.  https://doi.org/10.1017/S0021963099004990 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Haga, S. M., Ulleberg, P., Slinning, K., Kraft, P., Steen, T. B., & Staff, A. (2012). A longitudinal study of postpartum depressive symptoms: Multilevel growth curve analyses of emotion regulation strategies, breastfeeding self-efficacy, and social support. Archives of Women’s Mental Health, 15, 175–184.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s00737-012-0274-2 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Hazan, C., & Shaver, P. R. (1987). Romantic love conceptualized as an attachment process. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 52, 511–524.  https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.52.3.511 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Hobbs, C. J., & Wynne, J. M. (2002). Neglect of neglect. Current Pediatrics, 22, 144–150.  https://doi.org/10.1054/cupe.2001.0266 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kim, J., & Cicchetti, D. (2010). Longitudinal pathways linking child maltreatment, emotion regulation, peer relations, and psychopathology. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 51, 706–716.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-7610.2009.02202.x CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Levy, K. N., Ellison, W. D., Scott, L. N., & Bernecker, S. L. (2011). Attachment style. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 67, 193–203.  https://doi.org/10.1002/jclp.20756 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Maheu, F. S., Dozier, M., Guyer, A. E., Mandell, D., Peloso, E., Poeth, K., et al. (2010). A preliminary study of medial temporal lobe function in youths with a history of caregiver deprivation and emotional neglect. Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience, 10, 34–49.  https://doi.org/10.3758/CABN.10.1.34 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Maleck, S., & Papp, L. M. (2015). Childhood risky family environments and romantic relationship functioning among young adult dating couples. Journal of Family Issues, 36, 567.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0192513X13491749 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Murray, L. (1992). The impact of postnatal depression on infant development. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 33, 543–561.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-7610.1992.tb00890.x CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Pace, C. S., & Zavattini, G. C. (2011). ‘Adoption and attachment theory’ the attachment models of adoptive mothers and the revision of attachment patterns of their late-adopted children. Child: Care, Health and Development, 37, 82–88.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2214.2010.01135.x Google Scholar
  27. Roisman, G. I., Collins, A. W., Sroufe, A. L., & Egeland, B. (2005). Predictors of young adults’ representations of and behavior in their current romantic relationship: Prospective tests of the prototype hypothesis. Attachment & Human Development, 7, 102–121.  https://doi.org/10.1080/14616730500134928 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Shipman, K., Edwards, A., Brown, A., Swisher, L., & Jennings, E. (2005). Managing emotion in a maltreating context: A pilot study examining child neglect. Child Abuse & Neglect, 29, 1015–1029.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chiabu.2005.01.006 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Spertus, I. L., Yehuda, R., Wong, C. M., Halligan, S., & Seremetis, S. V. (2003). Childhood emotional abuse and neglect as predictors of psychological and physical symptoms in women presenting to a primary care practice. Child Abuse & Neglect, 27, 1247–1258.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chiabu.2003.05.001 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Sroufe, L. A. (1988). The role of infant-caregiver attachment in development. In J. Belsky & T. Nezworski (Eds.), Clinical implications of attachment (pp. 18–38). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc., Publishers.Google Scholar
  31. Stein, A., Gath, D. H., Bucher, J., Bond, A., Day, A., & Cooper, P. J. (1991). The relationship between post-natal depression and mother-child interaction. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 158, 46–52.  https://doi.org/10.1192/bjp.158.1.46 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Stern, D. N. (1985). The interpersonal world of the infant. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  33. Underwood, M. K., & Rosen, L. H. (2009). Gender, peer relations, and challenges for girlfriends and boyfriends coming together in adolescence. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 33, 16–20.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1471-6402.2008.01468.x CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  34. Weigel, D. J. (2007). Parental divorce and the types of commitment-related messages people gain from their families of origin. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 47, 15–32.  https://doi.org/10.1300/J087v47n01_02 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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

Personalised recommendations