Journal Article

Attachment style in adults who failed to thrive as children: outcomes of a 20 year follow-up study of factors influencing maintenance or change in attachment style

D Iwaniec and H Sneddon

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 31, issue 2, pages 179-195
Published in print April 2001 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online April 2001 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/31.2.179
Attachment style in adults who failed to thrive as children: outcomes of a 20 year follow-up study of factors influencing maintenance or change in attachment style

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A group of children identified as non-organic failure-to-thrive between 1977 and 1980 were investigated, assessed and provided with social work intervention and treatment. Those children and their families have been followed up for the last 20 years. The current paper examines the stability of an internal working model in a sample of individuals who had failed to thrive as children, by comparing each individual's adult attachment style with their childhood attachment to their mother. In this sample, several cases showed changes from insecure to secure attachment styles. Possible reasons are discussed for positive and negative changes, as well as cases when there was no change in attachment style. These include the effectiveness of intervention in addition to changes in life circumstances. The findings suggest that when appropriate support and intervention is provided, or when different circumstances or relationships are experienced, internal working models can change.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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