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Categorical and dimensional approaches in the evaluation of the relationship between attachment and personality disorders: An empirical study

Chiesa, M; Cirasola, A; Williams, R; Nassisi, V; Fonagy, P; (2017) Categorical and dimensional approaches in the evaluation of the relationship between attachment and personality disorders: An empirical study. Attachment and Human Development , 19 (2) pp. 151-169. 10.1080/14616734.2016.1261915. Green open access

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Abstract

Although several studies have highlighted the relationship between attachment states of mind and personality disorders (PD), their findings have not been consistent, possibly due to the application of the traditional taxonomic classification model of attachment. A more recently developed dimensional classification of attachment representations, including more specific aspects of trauma-related representations, may have advantages. In this study we compare specific associations and predictive power of the categorical attachment and dimensional models applied to 230 Adult Attachment Interview transcripts obtained from personality disordered and non-psychiatric subjects. We also investigate the role that current levels of psychiatric distress may have in the prediction of PD. The results showed that both models predict the presence of PD, with the dimensional approach doing better in discriminating overall diagnosis of PD. However, both models are less helpful in discriminating specific PD diagnostic subtypes. Current psychiatric distress was found to be the most consistent predictor of PD capturing a large share of the variance and obscuring the role played by attachment variables. The results suggest that attachment parameters correlate with the presence of PD alone and has no specific associations with particular PD subtypes when current psychiatric distress is taken into account.

Type: Article
Title: Categorical and dimensional approaches in the evaluation of the relationship between attachment and personality disorders: An empirical study
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/14616734.2016.1261915
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14616734.2016.1261915
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Categorical model of attachment, dimensional model of attachment, personality disorder, psychiatric distress, predictive analyses
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1529287
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