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The Cultural Nature of AttachmentContextualizing Relationships and Development$
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Heidi Keller and Kim A. Bard

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780262036900

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262036900.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MIT PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mitpress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The MIT Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MITSO for personal use.date: 29 January 2022

Real-World Applications of Attachment Theory

Real-World Applications of Attachment Theory

(p.335) 14 Real-World Applications of Attachment Theory
The Cultural Nature of Attachment

Mariano Rosabal-Coto

Naomi Quinn

Heidi Keller

Marga Vicedo

Nandita Chaudhary

Alma Gottlieb

Gabriel Scheidecker

Marjorie Murray

Akira Takada

Gilda A. Morelli

The MIT Press

Attachment theory has its roots in an ethnocentric complex of ideas, longstanding in the United States, under the rubric of “intensive mothering.” Among these various approaches and programs, attachment theory has had an inordinate and wide-ranging influence on a wide range of professions concerned with children (family therapy, education, the legal system, and public policy, the medical profession, etc.) inside and outside the United States. This chapter looks critically at how attachment theory has been applied in a variety of contexts and discusses its influence on parenting. It examines the tension distortion that often results when research findings are translated into actual applications or programs, ignoring any particularities of cultural context. It describes how attachment theory has been used as the basis for child-rearing manuals and has influenced programs and policies more directly, to form legal decisions that affect families, as well as to develop public policy and programs. Specific attachment applications are reviewed and their validity questioned. Because child-rearing practices vary among cultures, the value systems that motivate these different practices must be recognized and accounted for when applications are developed and implemented. It concludes with a call for researchers to become proactive in rectifying misuses of attachment theory.

Keywords:   Strüngmann Forum Reports, cultural context, family therapy programs, early education programs, court custody and placement, public policy, western standards, distortions in the application of attachment theory

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