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Attachment and reflective function: Their role in self-organization

Fonagy, P; Target, M; (1997) Attachment and reflective function: Their role in self-organization. DEV PSYCHOPATHOL , 9 (4) 679 - 700. Green open access

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Abstract

The paper traces the relationship between attachment processes and the development of the capacity to envision mental states in self and others. We suggest that the ability to mentalize, to represent behavior in terms of mental states, or to have "a theory of mind" is a key determinant of self-organization which is acquired in the context of the child's early social relationships. Evidence for an association between the quality of attachment relationship and reflective function in the parent and the child is reviewed and interpreted in the context of current models of theory of mind development. A model of the development of self-organization is proposed which has at its core the caregiver's ability to communicate understanding of the child's intentional stance. The implications of the model for pathological self-development are explored, with specific reference to the consequences of maltreatment.

Type: Article
Title: Attachment and reflective function: Their role in self-organization
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstra...
Language: English
Additional information: © 1997 Cambridge University Press
Keywords: INFANT-MOTHER ATTACHMENT, MATERNAL SENSITIVITY, INDIVIDUAL-DIFFERENCES, PEOPLES FEELINGS, MIND DEVELOPMENT, PSYCHIC REALITY, YOUNG-CHILDREN, FALSE BELIEF, PRETEND PLAY, SECURITY
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/168571
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