Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Attachment in adults with high-functioning autism

By Emma Taylor, Mary Target and Tony Charman

Abstract

This study assessed attachment security in adults with high-functioning autism spectrum disorders, using the Adult Attachment Interview (AAI; George, Kaplan & Main, 1996). Of twenty participants, three were classified as securely attached, the same proportion as would be expected in a general clinical sample. Participants’ AAIs were less coherent and lower in reflective function than those of controls, who were matched for attachment status and mood disorder. A parallel interview suggested that some aspects of participants’ responses were influenced by their general discourse style, while other AAI scale scores appeared to reflect their state of mind with respect to attachment more specifically. There was little evidence that attachment security was related to IQ, autistic symptomatology or theory of mind. This study suggests that adults with autism can engage with the AAI and produce scoreable narratives of their attachment experiences, and a minority demonstrate secure attachment

Year: 2008
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.ioe.ac.uk.oai2:4441

Suggested articles

Citations

  1. (1991). A comparative study of attachment behavior in young children with autism or other psychiatric disorders.
  2. (2002). A new ‘advanced’ test of theory of mind: evidence from children and adolescents with Asperger syndrome.
  3. (2004). A new social communication intervention for children with autism: pilot randomised controlled treatment study suggesting effectiveness.
  4. (1996). Adult attachment classification and selfreported psychiatric symptomatology as assessed by the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory–2. doi
  5. (2000). Adult Attachment Interview: linkages with dimensions of emotional availability for mothers and their pre-kindergarteners. Attachment and Human Development,
  6. (1996). Adult Attachment Interview.
  7. (1998). Adult attachment scoring and classification system.
  8. (1994). An advanced test of theory of mind: understanding of story characters' thoughts and feelings by able autistic, mentally handicapped, and normal children and adults.
  9. (2006). An experimental manipulation of retrospectively defined earned and continuous attachment security.
  10. (2001). Attachment and emotional responsiveness in children with autism. In
  11. (1984). Attachment behaviors in autistic children.
  12. (1987). Attachment in autism and other developmental disorders.
  13. (1996). Attachment representations in mothers, fathers, adolescents and clinical groups: a meta-analytic search for normative data. doi
  14. (1994). Attachment security in children with autism.
  15. (2000). Attachment security in infancy and early adulthood: a twenty-year longitudinal study. doi
  16. (2004). Autism and attachment: a meta-analytic review.
  17. (1994). Autism and theory of mind in everyday life.
  18. (1999). Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule-WPS doi
  19. (1997). Autistic children's responses to separation and reunion with their mothers.
  20. (1943). Autistic disturbance of affective contact.
  21. (2005). Brief report: the relationship between discourse deficits and autism symptomatology.
  22. (2002). Cognitive profiles and socialcommunicative functioning in children with autism spectrum disorder.
  23. (2000). Continuity and discontinuity of attachment from infancy through adolescence.
  24. (1993). Developmental aspects of attachment behavior in young children with pervasive developmental disorders.
  25. (1996). Discriminant validity of the Adult Attachment Interview.
  26. (1985). Does the autistic child have a ‘theory of mind’?
  27. (1972). Early childhood autism, an ethological approach.
  28. (2002). Earned-secure attachment status in retrospect and prospect.
  29. (2001). Ignored or ineligible? The reality for adults with autism spectrum disorders. London: National Autistic Society.
  30. (2000). Insecure and disorganised attachment in children with a Pervasive Developmental Disorder: relationship with social interaction and heart rate. doi
  31. (1987). Interaction and attachment in normal and atypical infants.
  32. (1975). Logic and conversation. In
  33. (2005). Maternal reflective functioning, attachment, and the transmission gap: a preliminary study. Attachment and Human Development,
  34. (1998). Meta-analyses comparing theory of mind abilities of individuals with autism, individuals with mental retardation and normally-developing individuals. doi
  35. (1990). Office of Population Censuses and Surveys doi
  36. (1968). On human symbiosis and the vicissitudes of individuation: infantile psychosis. doi
  37. (1997). On the nature of communication and language impairment in autism. doi
  38. (2007). Parental sensitivity and attachment in children with autism spectrum disorder: comparison with children with mental retardation, with language delays, and with typical development. doi
  39. (1978). Patterns of attachment: a psychological study of the strange situation.
  40. (2004). Performance of children with autism spectrum disorder on advanced theory of mind tasks.
  41. (1996). Proximity and sociable behaviours in autism: evidence for attachment.
  42. (2000). Psychological disorder in adolescents and adults with Asperger Syndrome.
  43. (2000). Social and psychiatric functioning in adolescents with Asperger syndrome compared with conduct disorder.
  44. (1989). Social attachments in autistic children.
  45. (2005). Steps in theory-of-mind development for children with deafness or autism. doi
  46. (2006). Story recall and narrative coherence of highfunctioning children with autism spectrum disorders.
  47. (2001). The “reading the mind in the eyes” test revised version: a study with normal adults and adults with Asperger syndrome or high-functioning autism.
  48. (2005). The application of short forms of the Wechsler intelligence scales in adults and children with high functioning autism. doi
  49. (1991). The capacity for understanding mental states: the reflective self in parent and child and its significance for the security of attachment.
  50. (2001). The development and preliminary validation of a new measure of adult attachment: the Adult Attachment Projective. Attachment and Human Development,
  51. (1967). The empty fortress: infantile autism and the birth of the self.
  52. (1993). The epidemiology of Asperger syndrome: a total population study.
  53. (2006). The profile of memory function in children with autism. doi
  54. (1992). The relative effects of maternal and child problems on the quality of attachment: a meta-analysis of attachment in clinical samples. doi
  55. (1995). The role of age and verbal ability in the theory of mind task performance of subjects with autism.
  56. (1999). The Strange Stories test: a replication with highfunctioning adults with autism or Asperger syndrome.
  57. (2000). Theory of mind and autism: a fifteen-year review.
  58. (2002). Theory of mind in children with ‘lesser variants’ of autism: a longitudinal study.
  59. (1999). WASI: Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence. doi

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.