Title

Emotion Socialization as a Framework for Understanding the Development of Disorganized Attachment

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

8-2004

Journal

Social Development

Volume

13

Issue

3

First Page

437

Last Page

467

URL with Digital Object Identifier

http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9507.2004.00276.x

Abstract

Recent years have seen the emergence of accounts of the origins of the Disorganized attachment relationship in early mother–infant interaction, each building on the pioneering work of Main and Hesse—dysfunctional emotional processes figure prominently in all these accounts. This paper applies a framework based on two complementary theories of emotion socialization, Gianino and Tronick's (1992) Mutual Regulation Model and Gergely and Watson's (1996) Social Biofeedback Theory, to suggest an emotion-based mechanism consistent with recently proposed models of the development of Disorganized attachment. The framework is used to generate hypothetical accounts of the role of dysfunctional emotional processes and maladaptive emotion socialization in early mother–infant interaction in the development of Disorganized attachment along two distinct pathways, one associated with actual abuse of the infant and the other associated with maternal unresolved trauma.