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Incongruence Between Implicit Attachment Schemes and Unconscious Attachment Representations

Petrowski, Katja, PhD*†; Schurig, Susan*; Kirchmann, Helmut, PhD; Singh, Sashi; Banse, Rainer, PhD§; Imhoff, Roland, PhD; Strauss, Bernhard, PhD

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: June 2019 - Volume 207 - Issue 6 - p 423–428
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0000000000000987
Original Articles
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Assessments based on reaction time and language-based interviews postulate that unconscious attachment processes be measured. Nevertheless, a possible empirical equivalence of these two approaches has not yet been investigated. To fill this void, the Adult Attachment Interview and the Implicit Association Test were implemented with a group of patients with panic disorder (n = 157, mean age = 29, SD = 2.47) based on the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV, axis I and II disorders and a group of healthy individuals (n = 138). In total, the securely attached individuals showed significantly more positive attitudes toward their mother than the insecurely attached individuals. In the healthy individuals, the secure and disorganized classifications showed significantly more positive attitudes toward the mother in comparison with the insecure attachment classification, as well as the patient group. In summary, implicit attachment patterns based on reaction times are not equivalent to an attachment representation based on language markers. For the disorganized attachment representation, no differences were present between the information processing of the memory/association network and the autobiographic memory function.

*Department of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatic Medicine, Technische Universität Dresden, University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus, Dresden;

Medical Psychology & Medical Sociology, University Medical Center, Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz;

Institute of Psychosocial Medicine and Psychotherapy, University Hospital Jena, Jena;

§Department of Psychology, University of Bonn, Bonn; and

Department of Psychology, Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany.

Send reprint requests to Katja Petrowski, PhD, Department of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatic Medicine, Technische Universität Dresden, University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus, Fetscherstraße 74, 01307 Dresden, Germany. E-mail: katja.petrowski@tu-dresden.de.

Sampling statement: We described how the sample size was determined. We also disclose any data exclusions and explained the rationale for these exclusions.

Open material statement: We provide information regarding all procedures applied and all measures assessed in this study.

Open data statement: The data needed to reproduce the results are open. The data are accessible upon inquiry by contacting the corresponding author.

Reproducible script statement: Data analysis scripts allowing reproduction of the reported results are accessible upon inquiry by contacting the corresponding author.

Effects statement: We report basic descriptive statistics, effect sizes, exact p values, and 95% confidence intervals.

Online date: April 30, 2019

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