Attachment, the Development of the Self, and Its Pathology in Personality Disorders

  • Peter Fonagy


Attachment theory concerns the nature of early experiences of children and the impact of these experiences on aspects of later functioning of particular relevance to personality disorder. The question we attempt to address here is how deprivation, in particular early trauma, comes to affect the individual’s propensity to personality disorder. As part of this question we are naturally also concerned to understand how such adverse consequences may be avoided. The key assumption made by the invoking of attachment theory is that individual social behaviour may be understood in terms of generic mental models of social relationships constructed by the individual. These models, although constantly evolving and subject to modification, are strongly influenced by the child’s experiences with the primary caregivers. Let us now turn to the details of the theory.


Borderline Personality Disorder Personality Disorder Secure Attachment Borderline Personality Disorder Metacognitive Monitoring 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sub-Department of Clinical Health PsychologyUniversity College LondonUK
  2. 2.Anna Freud Centre Child and Family Centre and Centre for Outcomes Research and EffectivenessMenninger FoundationTopekaUSA

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