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From The CriticsReviewer: Gary B Kaniuk, Psy.D.(Cermak Health Services)
Description: This comprehensive handbook on attachment builds upon the landmark work of John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth, integrating theory and research with clinical practice. This updates the first edition of 1999.
Purpose: According to the editors, "in order to make optimal use of the theory as a researcher, clinician, or teacher, one has to know what Bowlby and Ainsworth originally said; what subsequent research has revealed; which measures of attachment have been developed as well as what they actually measure; and what recent theoretical and empirical developments contribute to the overall 'story' of attachment relationships and personality development. The purpose of the present volume is to satisfy these important professional needs."
Audience: Graduate students in developmental, social, and clinical psychology are the intended audience. Dr. Cassidy, professor of psychology at the University of Maryland, conducts research on attachment, social, and emotional development in children and adolescents and is co-editor of the journal Attachment and Human Development. Dr. Shaver, distinguished professor of psychology at the University of California Davis, conducts research on attachment, human motivation, and emotion and is president of the International Association for Relationship Research. The contributors represent international authorship from the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden, Netherlands, and Israel.
Features: An introduction to attachment theory begins the book. Next, evolutionary and psychological origins are addressed. The book spends considerable time discussing attachment behavior across the lifespan. Clinical applications are included, especially involving the relationship between attachment and psychopathology. The book ends with special areas where attachment plays an important factor, including cross-cultural applications, religion, divorce, and child care policies. Among the particularly interesting topics is the discussion of Bowlby's views and current controversies (chapter 3) on disordered mourning, detachment, and resolution. The chapter on attachment in middle and later life (chapter 24) discusses whether distributions of attachment styles found in children are replicated in older adults. The chapter on attachment and religion (chapter 38) is fascinating reading about how people maintain proximity to God. There is both a subject and author index. The book could have benefited from more tables and figures to add clarity, especially since so much research is presented.
Assessment: This excellent book is a comprehensive look at the classic theory of attachment. It masterfully weaves theory and research with clinical practice. If you want to know about attachment, this is the book to have, though you should probably read Bowlby's Attachment and Loss series first, since it is the foundation for this book. This new edition is certainly justified. It has been almost 10 years since the publication of the previous edition of this book and the field has advanced, especially in the area of neuroscience and behavioral genetics. New chapters have been added and others have been revised to reflect current research findings.