Exploring trauma and attachment style over the lifespan using secondary data: A single case study of two sisters

Author/s Deborah Bailey-Rodriguez, Nollaig Frost
Publishing Year 2019 Issue 2019/2
Language English Pages 15 P. 45-59 File size 212 KB
DOI 10.3280/MAL2019-002004
DOI is like a bar code for intellectual property: to have more infomation click here

Below, you can see the article first page

If you want to buy this article in PDF format, you can do it, following the instructions to buy download credits

Article preview

FrancoAngeli is member of Publishers International Linking Association, Inc (PILA), a not-for-profit association which run the CrossRef service enabling links to and from online scholarly content.

Lifespan interviews provide rich contextual information about childhood and adult trauma and risks for clinical disorder. Sisters’ interviews can give information on concordance of experience as well as individual differences in relating. Examining sister’s reports of their common in experience in childhood, and different experience in adulthood can be illuminating. A pair of sisters selected for a study of adverse childhood experience, attachment style and depression, are used to illustrate key experiences from this area of investigation. Taken from a London sample of women, the adult sisters report common emotional neglect, being brought up in a household of 13 children in Ireland. One of the sister’s reports role reversal, expected to parent her younger sisters; the other sister reports sibling physical abuse. Both emigrate to England for different adult life experience. Adult trauma events include a traumatic birth and a brief episode of domestic violence. Both sisters experience insecure attachment styles as adults, one with anxious fearful style, the other avoidant withdrawn style. Both experience clinical depression with GAD anxiety. The interpretations combine both socio-ecological (issues of childhood deprivation and immigration) and attachment style as sequelae of childhood adversity with implications for adult adaptation.

Keywords: Deprivation, neglect, insecure attachment, narrative, depression, migration.

  1. Bifulco, A. (2015). Attachment and adversity across the lifespan. ATTACHMENT: New Directions in Psychotherapy and Relational Psychoanalysis, 9, 201-218.
  2. Bifulco, A., Brown, G. W., & Harris, T. O. (1994). Childhood Experience of Care and Abuse (CECA): A retrospective interview measure. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 35, 1419-1435.
  3. Bifulco, A., Brown, G. W., Lillie, A., & Jarvis, J. (1997). Memories of childhood neglect and abuse: Corroboration in a series of sisters. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 38, 365-374.
  4. Bifulco, A., & Moran, P. (1998). Wednesday’s Child: Research into women’s experience of neglect and abuse in childhood and adult depression. London, New York: Routledge.
  5. Bifulco, A. , Moran, P., Ball, C., & Lillie, A. (2002) Adult attachment style. II: Its relationship to psychosocial depressive-vulnerability. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 37(2), 60-67.
  6. Bifulco, A., & Thomas, G. (2012). Understanding adult attachment in family relationships: Research, assessment and intervention. London: Routledge.
  7. Bowlby, J. (1988). A secure base: Clinical application of attachment theory. London: Routledge.
  8. Bretherton, I. (1992). The origins of attachment theory: John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth. Developmental Psychology, 28, 759-775.
  9. Dallos, R. (2006). Attachment Narrative Therapy: Integrating narrative, systemic and attachment therapies. Maidenhead: Open University Press.
  10. First, M., Gibbon, M., Spitzer, R., & Williams, J. (1996). Users guide for SCID. New York: Biometrics Research Dept.
  11. Howe, D. (2011). Attachment across the lifecourse: A brief introduction. Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.
  12. Johnson, S. M. (2003). Introduction to attachment: A therapist’s guide to primary relationships and their renewal. In S. M. Johnson & V. E. Whiffen (Eds.), Attachment processes in couple and family therapy (pp. 3-17). London: The Guildford Press.
  13. Lopez, F. G., & Brennan, K. A. (2000). Dynamic processes underlying adult attachment organisation: Toward an attachment theoretical perspective on the healthy and effective self. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 47, 283-300. DOI: 10.1037//0022-0167.47.3.283
  14. Main, M., Kaplan, N., & Cassidy, J. (1985). Security in infancy, childhood and adulthood: A move to the level of representation. In I. Bretherton & E. Waters (Eds.), Growing points of attachment theory and research (pp. 66-106). Chicago: University of Chicago.
  15. Plomin, R., Asbury, K., & Dunn, J. (2001). Why are children in the same family so different? Non-shared environment a decade later. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 46, 225-233. DOI: 10.1177/070674370104600302
  16. Rodriguez, D. (2015). A qualitative analysis on John Bowlby’s final interview on attachment theory. ATTACHMENT: New Directions in Psychotherapy and Relational Psychoanalysis, 9, 158-164.
  17. Rodriguez, D. (2017). “We’re in the trenches together”: A pluralistic exploration of attachment behaviour dynamics in a heterosexual couple relationship across the transition to second-time parenthood. (PhD). Middlesex University.
  18. Spence, R., Nunn, S., Bifulco, A. (2019). The long-term effects of childhood financial hardship mediated by physical abuse, shame, and stigma on depression in women. Maltrattamento e abuso all’infanzia, 21(1), 55-72. DOI: 10.3280/MAL2019-001005

Deborah Bailey-Rodriguez, Nollaig Frost, Exploring trauma and attachment style over the lifespan using secondary data: A single case study of two sisters in "MALTRATTAMENTO E ABUSO ALL’INFANZIA" 2/2019, pp 45-59, DOI: 10.3280/MAL2019-002004