[Transmission of binding over generations--contribution of the Adult Attachment Interview].Prax Kinderpsychol Kinderpsychiatr. 1999 Feb; 48(2):73-85.PK
A new domain has been established within attachment research that deals with mental representations of attachment in adults, particularly in parents. This contribution describes the procedure of the Adult Attachment Interview (AAI) developed by George et al. (1996) and the scoring and classification system by Main and Goldwyn (1994). This method allow trained coders a reliable classification of different states of mind with respect to attachment based on a content and discourse analysis of the interview transcripts. By means of observational procedure of the Strange Situation for infants and the AAI for the adults, several studies support the assumption of a transmission of attachment relationships from one generation to the next one. These findings reveal that parents with secure autonomous attachment representations predominantly have infants with secure attachment patterns, parents with insecure-dismissing attachment representations mostly have children with an avoidant attachment and parents with insecure-preoccupied representations often have children with an insecure-ambivalent attachment. Less consistent results have been found for the correspondence between parents unresolved attachment status with respect to traumatic experiences and their infants' disoriented/disorganized attachment patterns. A recent study assessing attachment in six year olds revealed as well the transmission from mothers' attachment representations to those of their children for this older age. Since many studies have confirmed the correspondence of parents' and infants' attachment classifications, research interests are now directed towards the mediating processes of transmission.