Disorganized and unresolved states in adulthood.Curr Opin Psychol. 2019 02; 25:172-176.CO
Fear plays a central role in attachment theory and disorganization in adulthood. Fear associated with traumatic memories interferes with resolution of trauma resulting in disorganized mental states, captured as unresolved/disorganized speech surrounding loss and/or abuse in the Adult Attachment Interview. Mothers who are unresolved experience fear stemming from traumatic memories and display frightening behavior towards their infants. Disorganization can predispose individuals to dissociative mental processes, including altered states (absorption), PTSD, and depersonalization. Social psychologists have conceptualized adult disorganization as fear of the romantic partner. Studies examining stability of adult disorganization indicate unresolved loss is more readily resolved than unresolved abuse. Understanding disorganization in adulthood, including experiences that support reparation and reorganization, is important for developing effective interventions.