Dynamic formulation of romantic attachment in people with adverse childhood experiences

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Kampon Maichandee, M.S.
Araya Pontanya, Ph.D.


Objective: To in-depth study about dynamic formulation of romantic attachment in people with adverse childhood experiences (ACEs).

Methods: The current study used qualitative method with case study design. The data was collected from in-depth interviews with five participants within three months period. The data was then analyzed by using thematic-analysis method.

Results: All participants, who experienced with ACEs from their caregivers, shared insecure attachment styles with their caregivers. Four out of five participants transferred those attachment styles to their present romantic partners. Insecure attachment reflected through confusion, inability to understand emotions of self and partners, doubtfulness of love from partners, and lack of sense of belonging, which in turn lead individuals with insecure attachment to terminate their relationships repeatedly. However, one participant developed secure attachment with romantic partner. The factors that can lead to positive changes are mental strength, ability to find inner positive resources, awareness of caregivers' solicitude, and receiving physical and emotional supports from partners.

Conclusion: Adverse childhood experiences can lead to insecure attachment styles with caregivers, which then transfer to romantic partners in adulthood. Mental health personnel should focus on exploring client’s adverse childhood experiences in order to analyze the connections with the current interpersonal problems. This information could lead to the suitable plan for further assistances.


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