Research into the role of attachment in a person's life. Overview of foreign research



Attachment theory currently covers more and more research areas. Starting its development with the study of children, now researchers of attachment are increasingly paying attention to the psyche of an adult. Moreover, more and more studies are devoted to the relationship of attachment and psychopathology. This article presents the scientific researches that have been carried out over the past five years and re-open the problem of attachment. The studies investigate the problems of romantic attachment, the effects of attachment on the course of pregnancy, the relationship of attachment and psychopathology in adults, the specificity of psychotherapy for patients with different types of attachment, and give a brief overview of studies of child attachment, which also focuses on psychopathology. This review doesn’t only present new scientific data on the theory of attachment, but also outlines new vectors of research on this issu.

General Information

Keywords: attachment, adulthood, romantic relationships, psychopathology, secure attachment, anxious-ambivalent attachment, avoidant attachment, disorganized attachment

Journal rubric: Developmental Psychology and Age-Related Psychology

Article type: review article


For citation: Dianova E.S. Research into the role of attachment in a person's life. Overview of foreign research [Elektronnyi resurs]. Sovremennaia zarubezhnaia psikhologiia = Journal of Modern Foreign Psychology, 2019. Vol. 8, no. 4, pp. 88–96. DOI: 10.17759/jmfp.2019080409. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


  1. Smirnova E.O. Teoriya privyazannosti: kontseptsiya i eksperiment [Attachment Theory: Concept and Experiment] [Elektronnyi resurs]. Voprosy psikhologii [Psychology Issues], 1995, no. 3, pp. 139–150. URL: (Accessed 28.11.2019). (In Russ.).
  2. Rozga A. et al. A short-term longitudinal study of correlates and sequelae of attachment security in autism. Attachment & Human Development, 2018. Vol. 20, no. 2, pp. 160–180. doi:10.1080/14616734.2017.1383489
  3. Reisz S. et al. Adult attachment and birth experience: importance of a secure base and safe haven during childbirth. Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology, 2019. Vol. 37, no. 1, pp. 26–43. doi:10.1080/02646838.2018.1509303
  4. Warfa N. et al. Adult attachment style as a risk factor for maternal postnatal depression: a systematic review. BMC Psychology, 2014. Vol. 2, no. 56. doi:10.1186/s40359-014-0056-x
  5. Shevlin M. et al. Adult attachment styles and the psychological response to infant bereavement. European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 2014. Vol. 5, no. 1. doi:10.3402/ejpt.v5.23295
  6. Huguelet P. et al. Attachment and coping in psychosis in relation to spiritual figures. BMC Psychiatry, 2015. Vol. 15, no. 237, 12 p. doi:10.1186/s12888-015-0617-4
  7. Spies R. et al. Attachment relationships of preschool-aged children of mothers with HIV and HIV-related psychosis. Attachment & Human Development, 2016. Vol. 18, no. 5, pp. 473–486. doi:10.1080/14616734.2016.1184291
  8. Wedl M. et al. Children with Avoidant or Disorganized Attachment Relate Differently to a Dog and to Humans During a Socially Stressful Situation. Anthrozoös, 2015. Vol. 28, no. 4, pp. 601–610. doi:10.1080/08927936.2015.1070002
  9. Psychogiou L. et al. Children’s emotion understanding in relation to attachment to mother and father. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 2018. Vol. 36, no. 4, pp. 557–572. doi:10.1111/bjdp.12239
  10. Daniel S., Lunn S., Poulsen S. Client Attachment and Therapist Feelings in the Treatment of Bulimia Nervosa. Psychotherapy, 2015. Vol. 52, no. 2, pp. 247–257. doi:10.1037/a0038886
  11. Laczkovics C. et al. Defense mechanism is predicted by attachment and mediates the maladaptive influence of insecure attachment on adolescent mental health. Current Psychology, 2018. doi:10.1007/s12144-018-9839-1
  12. Diener M.J., Monroe J.M. The relationship between adult attachment style and therapeutic alliance in individual psychotherapy: A meta-analytic review. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, 2011. Vol. 48, no. 3, pp. 237–248. doi:10.1037/a0022425
  13. Jonkman C.S. et al. Disturbances in attachment: inhibited and disinhibited symptoms in foster children. Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health, 2014. Vol. 8, no. 21, pp. 35–45. doi:10.1186/1753-2000-8-21
  14. Cameron J.D. et al. Effects of fat mass and obesity-associated (FTO) gene polymorphisms on binge eating in women with binge-eating disorder: The moderating influence of attachment style. Nutrition, 2019. Vol. 61, pp. 208–212. doi:10.1016/j.nut.2018.11.006
  15. Velotti P. et al. Exploring Relationships: A Systematic Review on Intimate Partner Violence and Attachment. Frontiers in Psychology, 2018. Vol. 9, article 1166, 42 p. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01166
  16. Fonagy P., Allison E. The role of mentalizing and epistemic trust in the therapeutic relationship. Psychotherapy, 2014. Vol. 51, no. 3, pp. 372–380. doi:10.1037/a0036505
  17. Fonagy P., Luyten P., Allison E. Epistemic petrification and the restoration of epistemic trust: A new conceptualization of borderline personality disorder and its psychosocial treatment. Journal of Personality Disorders, 2015, no. 29, pp. 575–609. doi:10.1521/pedi.2015.29.5.575
  18. Garofalo C., Bogaerts S. Attachment and Personality Disorders Among Child Molesters: The Role of Trust. Sexual Abuse, 2017. Vol. 31, no. 1, pp. 97–124. doi:10.1177/1079063217720928
  19. Güçlü O. et al. Gender differences in romantic jealousy and attachment styles. Psychiatry and Clinical Psychopharmacology, 2017. Vol. 27, no. 4, pp. 359–365. doi:10.1080/24750573.2017.1367554
  20. Bo S. et al. Hypermentalizing, attachment, and epistemic trust in adolescent BPD: Clinical illustrations. Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment, 2017. Vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 172–182. doi:10.1037/per0000161
  21. Kerstis B., Åslund C., Sonnby K. More secure attachment to the father and the mother is associated with fewer depressive symptoms in adolescents. Upsala Journal of Medical Sciences, 2018. Vol. 123, no. 1, pp. 62–67. doi:10.1080/03009734.2018.1439552
  22. Quinn K., Spiby H., Slade P. A longitudinal study exploring the role of adult attachment in relation to perceptions of pain in labour, childbirth memory and acute traumatic stress responses. Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology, 2015. Vol. 33, no. 3, pp. 256–267. doi:10.1080/02646838.2015.1030733
  23. Tasca G.A. Attachment and eating disorders: a research update. Current Opinion in Psychology, 2019. Vol. 25, pp. 59–64. doi:10.1016/j.copsyc.2018.03.003
  24. Girme Yuthika U. et al. The Ebbs and Flows of Attachment: Within-Person Variation in Attachment Undermine Secure Individuals’ Relationship Wellbeing across Time. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2018. Vol. 114, no. 3, pp. 397–421. doi:10.1037/pspi0000115
  25. Ayers S. et al. The role of adult attachment style, birth intervention and support in posttraumatic stress after childbirth: A prospective study. Journal of Affective Disorders, 2014. Vol. 155, pp. 295–298. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2013.10.022
  26. Turunen T. et al. The role of attachment in recovery after a school-shooting trauma. European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 2014. Vol. 5, no. 1. doi:10.3402/ejpt.v5.22728
  27. Walsh J., Hepper E.G., Marshall B.J. Investigating attachment, caregiving, and mental health: a model of maternal-fetal relationships. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 2014. Vol. 14:383. 9 p. doi:10.1186/s12884-014-0383-1

Information About the Authors

Ekaterina S. Dianova, psychologist, Legacy, Moscow, Russia, e-mail:



Total: 1895
Previous month: 70
Current month: 58


Total: 2783
Previous month: 62
Current month: 52