By Klaus E. Grossmann PhD, Karin Grossmann PhD, Everett Waters PhD
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Extra info for Attachment from Infancy to Adulthood: The Major Longitudinal Studies
These are relevant to the issues raised by Bowlby (1980) and Grossmann (1999). Reminiscing about Stressful Experiences During interviews of 5- to 12-year-olds from violent neighborhoods, Fivush, Hazzard, Sales, Sarfati, and Brown (2003) unexpectedly found that the children’s accounts of negative events were more coherent and involved greater disclosure of feelings and thoughts than discussions of positive past experiences. Bahrick, Parker, Merritt, and Fivush (1998) interviewed younger children who were 3–4 years of age when they lived through a devastating hurricane.
Also influential was Erikson’s (1950) proposition that “play is the child’s expression of the human capacity to deal with experience by creating model situations and to master reality by experiment and planning” (p. 214). Judging that the purely verbal responses called for by the picture-based SAT might underestimate the complexity of young preschoolers’ attachment working models, I wondered whether the introduction of manipulable figures and props, similar to those used by play therapists, might help children as young as 36 months of age generate attachment story completions.
Finally, in the first study using physiological measures, Bar-Haim, Fox, VanMeenen, and Marshall (2004) found that 7-yearolds’ responses to the separation-reunion story stems and an additional story stem about a child’s first day at school elicited increases in heart rate, during both the “presentation” and the “production” phases of the task. They also found that suppression of vagal tone was related to coherent story productions. The ASCT has also begun to yield interesting insights in studies of children experiencing various types of stress.