Conference Photos (click here)

The work presented in this poster symposium was supported by
The Center for Mental Health Promotion and the New York Attachment Consortium.

Poster Symposium

Script-like Representations of Secure Base Experience


#1.Introduction (Click here for full text)
..... E. Waters

The six studies in this poster symposium examine script-like representations of early secure base experience. Our first study on this topic was presented at SRCD 2001 (Click here for PDF). The present studies extend this work by examining such representations in relation to the AAI, as well as across age and sex, as products of socialization, and across culture. We also examine generalized and relationship specific forms of these attachment representations. Associating the notion of an "attachment representation" or "working model" with a specific kind of cognitive structure can clarify and help advance attachment theory, assessment, and research.

# 2 Maternal attachment scripts and infant security. (Click here for PDF)
.....Tini, Corcoran, Rodrigues, & E. Waters..

Examines links between mothers' script knowledge and their infant's Strange Situation classification. If script-like representations of secure base experience are indeed the underpinnings of AAI coherence, then script knowledge and access should be highly correlated with the AAI and also have similar correlates. Clearly the link between mothers' AAI and their infants' Strange Situation classifications is one of the most important correlates of the AAI.
# 3 Co-constructing script-like attachment representations. (Click here for PDF)
......Guttmann-Steinmetz, Elliot, Steiner, & H. Waters....

Lacking a clear idea of the type of representation involved, attachment researchers have paid little attention to how such representations emerge. This study examines the hypothesis that representations of secure base experience are substantially products of socialization. That is, they are not merely a record of what has happened or a product of individual reflection. Instead they are co-constructed with the guidance of primary attachment figures. Moreover, the caregiver's understanding of the secure base script is likely to be an important factor in their ability to serve as a partner in co-construction. This seems to us a useful perspective on a variety of issues including attachment stability and parent-child concordance.
# 3 Adolescents' representations of close relationships. (Click here for PDF)
.... Steiner, Arjomand, & H. Waters

A first look at the evolution of secure base scripts in adolescence. In addition to looking at the availability of script-like representations at different ages, it looks at the adolescents' representations of their relationship with mother and with father, their understanding of the mother-father relationship, and the effects of these representations on their understanding of the secure base concept in their own dating relationships.

# 4 Attachment scripts in adult and adolescent males... (Click here for PDF)
.Elliott, Tini, Fetten & Saunders

Most of our initial work was done on adult and adolescent females. It examines the consistency of secure base script knowledge in adolescent and adult males.

# 5 Current relationship scripts  (Click here for PDF)
..... Wais & H. Waters......

The secure base script assessment is is easily adapted to assessknowledge of generalized (mother and child or husband and wife) or relationship specific (me and my mother or me and my husband) representations. This study examines relations of generalized and relationhip specific adult-adult representations to the AAI and its adaptation to adult-adult romantic relationships, the Current Relationship Interview. The results suggest that the interview based measures are associated with knowledge and access to both generalized and relationship specific scripts.

# 6 Attachment scripts across cultures. .(Click here for PDF)
......Rodrigues, Zevallos, Turan & Green

Bowlby argued that the ability to organize and maintain secure base relationships is part of humans' evolutionary endowment. Although this does not imply that every human actually organizes their behavior in this way or that attachment plays the same role in every culture, it does imply that every healthy human raised in an ordinary environment should have the ability to engage in secure base relationships. It also implies that they can form mental representations of their secure base experience. In previous research we have found clear evidence of script-like representations of secure base experience in several cultures (e.g., Switzerland, Zimbabwe, Peru). This paper reports on two additional cultures (Turkey and United Arab Erirates) that are even more removed from our own traditions.