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Table 1 Different types of attachment in adults and children with different instruments

From: Early experience, structural dissociation, and emotional dysregulation in borderline personality disorder: the role of insecure and disorganized attachment

AAI Strange Situation Adult romantic and peer relationships
George et al. [[16]] [[8],[9],[15]] Bartholomew and Horowitz [[10]]
Secure/autonomous: The person speaks coherently and interactively with the interviewer about life experiences, whether favorable or unfavorable. Questions are answered with sufficient, but not excessive, elaboration and provide a coherent narrative that may even include traumatic issues. Secure: The infant seeks physical contact, proximity, and interaction. If upset by the separation, the infant is readily soothed by parents, and then returns to exploration and play. Secure: “It is relatively easy for me to become emotionally close to others. I am comfortable depending on others and having others depend on me. I don't worry about being alone or having others not accept me.”
Dismissing: The person minimizes the discussion or importance of attachment-related experiences. Responses are typically internally inconsistent, and often excessively short. Relationships with parents are usually described as highly favorable, but without supporting evidence, or when it is given, tends to contradict the global evaluation. Insecure-avoidant: These infants show little apparent separation anxiety while actually in a state of high physiological distress, avoid and ignore parents on reunion, remain occupied with toys, and may ignore parents’ efforts to communicate. Dismissing: “I am comfortable without close emotional relationships. It is very important for me to feel independent and self-sufficient, and I prefer not to depend on others or have others depend on me.”
Preoccupied: The memories aroused by a question seem to draw the subject's attention and guide the subject's speech. This can result in lengthy, angry recounting of childhood interactions with parents, which may inappropriately move into discussions of a present relationship. The speaker may also digress to remote topics, use vague language, and describe a parent negatively and positively in the same sentence. Insecure-resistant. These infants alternate between appearing very independent and ignoring mother and becoming anxious and trying to find her. Upon reunion, they cling and cry, but also look away and struggle, and parents are not able to sooth their distress. Preoccupied: “I want to be completely emotionally intimate with others, but I often find that others are reluctant to get as close as I would like. I am uncomfortable without close relationships, but I sometimes worry that others don't value me as much as I value them.”
Fearful: “I am somewhat uncomfortable getting close to others. I want emotionally close relationships, but I find it difficult to trust others completely, or to depend on them. I sometimes worry that I will be hurt if I allow myself to become too close to others.”
Unresolved or disorganized: Frequently demonstrates substantial lapses in reasoning or discourse. The respondent may express childlike beliefs or lapse into prolonged silence or eulogistic speech. Disorganized: Infants cry for parents at the door and then run away when door opens, approaching parent with head down. Behavioral strategies seem to be collapsed. They may seem to freeze, display a vacant gaze, or engage in stereotyped behavior. [Note: there is no corresponding category in the adult romantic and peer attachment relationship self-report literature for either the AAI disorganized or Strange Situation unresolved attachment groups.]
  1. Note: As per Fraley and Shaver ([17], p. 1200): “The avoidant pattern in the three-category model [13] is represented by two patterns in Bartholomew's model: fearful-avoidance and dismissing-avoidance. Both of these patterns involve high scores on avoidance but differ on anxiety. Fearful-avoidance is a combination of high avoidance and high anxiety; dismissing-avoidance is a combination of high avoidance and low anxiety”.