overview family relations institute

Dynamic Maturational Model
of Patterns of Attachment (A3-4)

Family Relations Institute

Individuals using the A3 strategy (compulsive caregiving, cf., Bowlby, 1973) rely on predictable contingencies, inhibit negative affect and protect themselves by protecting their attachment figure. In childhood, they try to cheer up or care for sad, withdrawn, and vulnerable attachment figures. In adulthood, they often find employment where they rescue or care for others, especially those who appear weak and needy. The precursors of A3 and A4 can be seen in infancy (using the DMM method for the Strange Situation), but the strategy only functions fully in the preschool years and thereafter.

A4: Compulsively compliant individuals (Crittenden & DiLalla, 1988) try to prevent danger, inhibit negative affect and protect themselves by doing what attachment figures want them to do, especially angry and threatening figures. They tend to be excessively vigilant, quick to anticipate and meet others’ wishes, and generally agitated and anxious. The anxiety, however, is ignored and downplayed by the individual and often appears as somatic symptoms that are brushed aside as being unimportant.

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