Autobiographical memory stability in the context of the Adult Attachment Interview

Christin Köber, Christopher R. Facompré, Theodore E.A. Waters, Jeffry A. Simpson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Increasing evidence suggests that both attachment representations and autobiographical memories are moderately stable over time. Evidence examining the stability of attachment-related memories is scarce, although these memories of early caregiving are thought to underpin attachment representations. Connecting research on stability of autobiographical memories with research on attachment representation, the present study investigated the stability of attachment-related autobiographical memories, which were provided by 151 emerging adults in repeated Adult Attachment Interviews conducted seven years apart. Results show that these childhood memories are as stable as other memories from later periods of life, and that memory stability depends on retrieval mode, memory valence, autobiographical memory specificity, and memory content (i.e., maternal vs. paternal caregiver). Investigating the relation of stability of attachment-related memory content with attachment security revealed mainly an association with secure base script knowledge, supporting the notion that attachment representations are firmly rooted in semantic and autobiographical memory systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number103980
StatePublished - Oct 2019


  • Adult Attachment Interview
  • Attachment
  • Autobiographical memory specificity
  • Autobiographical memory stability
  • Secure base script

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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