Thursday, September 03, 2009

Attachment style and bipolar disorder

Attachment style can be defined as the way in which we carry our relationship with our closest childhood caregiver (usually our mother) into our own adult relationships. Attachment style can be described as secure - characterised by comfort with intimacy and autonomy and with a positive model of oneself and the other in a relationship - or insecure. Insecure attachment can be further divided into three types: anxious in which people are fearful on intimacy and socially avoidant, preoccupied with relationships in which people have a negative model of the self and a postiive model of the other, and dismissing in which the subject has a positive model of the self but is dismissive of the value of intimacy. Researchers from the universities of Nottingham, Liverpool, Lancaster and Bangor looked into attachment style in people with bipolar disorder. They studied 148 people, 107 of whom had the condition. They found that 78% of the bipolar patients had an insecure attachment style compared to only 32% of those unaffected. Healthy people had higher secure attachment, lower anxious attachment and lower preoccupied attachment. Mania was associated with higher secure and preoccupied attachment styles and depression was associated with higher preoccupied and lower dismissing attachment style scores.

Morriss, Richard K. ... [et al] - Adult attachment in bipolar 1 disorder Psychology and Psychotherapy: theory, research and practice September 2009, 82(3), 267-277

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