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Diamond, D. Blatt, S.J. (1999). Prologue. Psychoanal. Inq., 19(4):424-447.

(1999). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 19(4):424-447


Diana Diamond, Ph.D., Editor and Sidney J. Blatt, Ph.D., Editor

WE ARE AT A PRIVILEGED MOMENT in the study of the relationship between attachment theory and psychoanalysis. Psychoanalysis has always had close links to developmental psychology, being enriched by development theory and research and, in turn, contributing to and participating in developmental investigations. This close relationship between attachment and developmental psychology has been enriched and extended over the past two decades by the identification of several different patterns of attachment between infant and the caregiver (Ainsworth et al., 1978) and of the representational processes that are the “likely mediators of differences in parental caregiving” (Hesse, 1999p. 395; Main, Kaplan, and Cassidy, 1985). Attachment theory and research initially emerged from the clinical observations of the psychoanalyst John Bowlby, who identified the proclivity to form affectional bonds with significant others who are likely to promote the individual's safety and survival as pivotal to human motivation. He theorized that this affectional bond serves the evolutionary function of maintaining the infant's proximity to the mother in the face of separation, and that the child will inevitably develop strategies to regulate proximity to the caretaker, strategies shaped in part by the nature of the caretaker's response to the child's distress at separation and attempts to reestablish proximity (Bowlby, 1969, 1973, 1988). Bowlby's delineation of the attachment motivational system was enhanced and extended through considerable experimental investigation, first by Mary Ainsworth (Ainsworth et al., 1978, 1985) and later by a host of other investigators, some of whom have contributed to this two-issue series on psychoanalysis and attachment theory and research. Most readers of this prologue are already familiar with the basic tenets of attachment theory and research, but for a comprehensive overview, see the papers by Fonagy and Hesse and Main (this issue).

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