AAI coherence predicts caregiving and care seeking behavior: Secure base script knowledge helps explain why

Theodore E.A. Waters, Susan L. Brockmeyer, Judith A. Crowell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Previous research has demonstrated significant links between the Adult Attachment Interview (AAI) and secure base use and support in marital interactions. The mechanisms underlying such findings have not been examined in detail. This paper examines the hypothesis that script-like attachment representations shape both attachment narratives and attachment-related caregiving behavior and thus helps explain the correlation between them. Crowell et al. (2002) reported that AAI transcript coherence is significantly related to adults' caregiving and care seeking in couple problem solving interactions. In a random selection of 60 cases from that study, we assessed the extent to which interviewees conceptualized their early attachment experiences in terms of a secure base script. A series of regression analyses demonstrated that approximately 80% of the correlation between AAI coherence and laboratory caregiving and care seeking reported by Crowell et al. (2002) is accounted for by secure base script knowledge. Scoring secure base script knowledge from AAI transcripts is a useful step toward understanding links between early experience, adult attachment representations, and adults' ability to provide and seek support in close relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)316-331
Number of pages16
JournalAttachment and Human Development
Volume15
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2013

Keywords

  • Adult Attachment Interview
  • attachment
  • couple problem solving
  • secure base script

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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