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The cognitive structure of representations of attachment

The concept of a "secure base" is central to attachment theory. Bretherton (1990) suggested that an individual’s history of secure base experiences is stored in the form of rudimentary mental representations, so-called secure base scripts (SBS).

Therefore, SBS involve implicit knowledge of relationships guiding one's expectations, self-definition, ability to realise one’s goals. In recent years, we have engaged in the development of the Secure Base Script Test (SBST) for middle childhood, a test capturing early knowledge of what happens in attachment-related situations. The test has shown to be a reliable and valid method for assessing children’s scripted knowledge of relationships and feeling of security.

The SBST is currently available in English, Swedish, Italian and Arabic.

We are applying the test studying ways of thinking, coping and related well-being in different focus groups, e.g. immigrant children in Sweden, refugee children, children with difficulties at school, highly performing athletes (in collaboration with Sofia Bunke). In collaboration with Mikael Johansson, we are further exploring, using state-of-the-art cognitive and neuropsychological methods, the ways in which such scripted knowledge is reflected in adult cognitive structures.

Lund university research portal - Sofia Bunke
Lund university research portal - Mikael Johansson

PI / research coordinator

Elia Psouni

elia [dot] psouni [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se