Script-like attachment representations and behavior in families and across cultures: Studies of parental secure base narratives

Brian E. Vaughn, Harriet S. Waters, Gabrielle Coppola, Jude Cassidy, Kelly K. Bost, Manuela Veríssimo

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review


The articles included in this Special Issue of Attachment and Human Development were originally presented as contributions to symposia at the Society for Research in Child Development (Atlanta, Georgia, April 2005) and at the European Developmental Psychology Conference (Laguna, Canary Islands, August 2005). The articles represent efforts of independent research teams studying the emergence, maintenance, and implications of attachment representations. In each study, a central measure of attachment representation was a recently described measure of the secure base script (Waters & Rodrigues-Doolabh, 2004). This measure assesses the "scriptedness" of secure base content in stories told in response to a set of word-prompts. Each paper included in this special issue addresses a specific issue relevant to the reliability, validity, or broader utility of the attachment script representation measure as an indicator of the respondent's awareness of and access to a secure base script. The first paper provides a précis of the measure itself, including its conceptual underpinnings and the notion of "scriptedness" as it relates to the secure base construct. In the second article, the cross-time stability of the scriptedness scores is tested. The third and fourth articles present relations between the scriptedness score from the new measure and indices of state of mind about attachment from the Adult Attachment Interview (one sample of Italian mothers, the other in a sample of adolescents). The fifth article describes relations between the attachment script representation score and mother-child interaction during a memory reminiscence task. The final article in this set is a report on associations between the maternal attachment script representations and child attachment security for a sample of adopting mothers and adopted children. Taken together, these studies provide broad support for this new procedure and scoring system to capture important aspects of secure base knowledge for adults and also provide evidence for the relevance of secure base scripts in the socialization of child secure base behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)179-184
Number of pages6
JournalAttachment and Human Development
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2006


  • Attachment script
  • Representation of attachment
  • Validation studies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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