ERIC Number: ED319496
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Conflict and Attachment: The Experience of Disorganized/Controlling Children.
Solomon, Judith; George, Carol
Findings of a study on the relation between 6-year-olds' attachment security and their mental representations of attachment relationships are reported. It was expected that infants whose attachment behavior seemed disorganized would be fearful of their attachment figures and experience themselves as helpless, and that these conditions would be clearly reflected in children's symbolic representation of themselves and their relationships at a later age. To test the hypothesis, children's representations of their relationship to their mothers were assessed by means of a semistructured doll play situation in which an adult companion introduced a neutral story and then moved the child through a series of four stories related to attachment. Children's relationships were classified as secure, avoidant, ambivalent, or controlling. Differences between attachment groups' responses to the story themes of separation and reunion are discussed. The doll play of controlling children confirmed predictions based on the conflict behavior of disorganized infants. Secure children expressed separation fears that originated outside the family. These children appeared to have fairly sophisticated cognitive strategies for integrating fears of separation with a successful resolution. Avoidant and ambivalent children seemed to exclude separation fears from their play and consciousness. Fears of controlling children were expressed in a primitive and chaotic way. (RH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Mills Coll., Oakland, CA.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the International Conference on Infant Studies (7th, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, April, 1990).