Exploring the meaning of unresolved loss and trauma in more than 1,000 Adult Attachment Interviews

Lianne Bakkum, Marije L. Verhage, Carlo Schuengel, Robbie Duschinsky, Ilja Cornelisz, Chris Van Klaveren, Marinus H. Van Ijzendoorn, K. Lee Raby, Glenn I. Roisman, Marian J. Bakermans-Kranenburg, Mirjam Oosterman, Sheri Madigan, R. M.Pasco Fearon, Kazuko Behrens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Unresolved states of mind regarding experiences of loss/abuse (U/d) are identified through lapses in the monitoring of reasoning, discourse, and behavior surrounding loss/abuse in response to the Adult Attachment Interview. Although the coding system for U/d has been widely used for decades, the individual indicators of unresolved loss/abuse have not been validated independently of the development sample. This study examined the psychometric validity of U/d, using individual participant data from 1,009 parent-child dyads across 13 studies. A latent class analysis showed that subsets of commonly occurring U/d indicators could differentiate interviewees with or without unresolved loss/abuse. Predictive models suggested a psychometric model of U/d consisting of a combination of these common indicators, with disbelief and psychologically confused statements regarding loss being especially important indicators of U/d. This model weakly predicted infant disorganized attachment. Multilevel regression analysis showed no significant association between ratings of unresolved other trauma and infant disorganized attachment, over and above ratings of unresolved loss/abuse. Altogether, these findings suggest that the coding system of U/d may have been overfitted to the initial development sample. Directions for further articulation and optimization of U/d are provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalDevelopment and psychopathology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The work described in this study was supported by a grant from the Wellcome Trust to Lianne Bakkum (208155/Z/17/Z); a grant from Stichting tot Steun Nederland to Mirjam Oosterman and Carlo Schuengel; a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Canada (430-2015-00989) to Sheri Madigan; and a Veni grant by the Dutch National Scientific Foundation (451-17-010) to Marije L. Verhage. The work described in this study was in part supported by a grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD; R01 HD102035) to Glenn I. Roisman. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Institutes of Health. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Institutes of Health.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press.

Keywords

  • Adult Attachment Interview
  • individual participant data meta-analysis
  • unresolved loss
  • unresolved trauma

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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