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Internal working models of attachment as mediators in adult interpersonal relating: A review of the literature on attachment theory

13 December 1996


The relationship between early attachment experiences and adult interpersonal relating is explored and discussed in view of recent findings in the field. Theoretical underpinnings of attachment . theory are, presented to offer a context for current research in the field. The Adult Attachment Interview is also described and discussed briefly in terms of reliability and validity. The evidence : for continuity of early attachment experiences into adulthood is provided, mainly in the areas of research considering parenting relationships and the disturbed relating often seen in individuals diagnosed, with borderline personality disorder. In both areas, "state of mind" with respect to attachment has been found to have a strong relationship with adult interpersonal functioning. The empirical support for continuity of early attachment in the form of internal working models is significant. It is suggested that researchers and clinicians continue to explore the ways in which early attachment experiences impact the complex world of adult interpersonal relating.


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