Internal working models of attachment during late childhood and early adolescence: an exploration of stability and change.Attach Hum Dev. 2000 Dec; 2(3):328-46.AH
This article addresses the question of how the transition from late childhood to early adolescence influences the organization of attachment. The applicability of a measure for attachment representations in early adolescence, the Attachment Interview for Childhood and Adolescence (AICA), was explored. The AICA is based on the Adult Attachment Interview, which was adapted in minor ways to the early adolescent age-group. It was hypothesized that attachment shows considerable stability from late childhood to early adolescence, although some changes might become manifest especially because distancing mechanisms toward the parents may be activated in this period. Also, stability may be different for the various secure and insecure attachment classifications. Lastly, because gender differences become larger during the transition from childhood to adolescence, attachment differences between boys and girls were explored. The same 31 Italian participants (14 girls, 17 boys) completed the AICA at 10 years and at 14 years of age. The AICA attachment classification distributions did not differ from Adult Attachment Interview (AAI) distributions in comparable but older adolescent or young adult samples. The stability of attachment security was considerable: 74% (k = .48). The stability of the dismissing and secure categories was somewhat higher than the stability of the (small) preoccupied and unresolved categories. The participants tended to show more dismissing strategies across the four years, and to report more rejection from their parents. It was suggested that the activation of dismissing defense mechanisms might be necessary to keep parental figures at some distance in order to achieve a more definite personal identity. Finally, no significant gender differences in attachment emerged during the transition from late childhood to early adolescence.