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Ainsworth (o Bowlby?!) ha ideato tre stili di attaccamento organizzato suddivisi in:

- Attaccamento sicuro: caratterizzato da rappresentazione coerente e organizzata di sé e della figura

di attaccamento. Figura di attaccamento disponibile e affidabile. Durante la strange situation
ilbambino mostrsa un’adeguata capacità di utilizzare la madre come base sicura [PER BASE SICURA
- Attaccamento insicuro ambivalente: caratterizzato da iperattivazione del sistema di attaccamento,
il bambino non riesce ad utilizzare la madre come base sicura e ne è completamente assorbito.
- Attaccamento insicuro evitante: caratterizzato dall’ipoatticìvazione da parte del bambino del
sistema di attaccamento cioè l’esplorazione diventa una strategia di regolazione delle emozioni (
ricorda dicotomia espolazione- attaccamento nel concetto di base sicura). L’idea che i bambini
hanno di se stessi è di non essere meritevoli di amore e hanno fiducia solo nelle proprie risorse.
Nella strange situation il bambino tende a non cercare la madre come punto di riferimento ma si
dedica interamente all’esplorazione.

Questi stili di attaccamento risultano organizzati perché rimangono comunque strategie molto coerenti.
Cioè risultano la migliore soluzione trovata all’interno del loro mondo interattivo per mantenere la

Contrariamente a quanto succede per lo stile di attaccamento disorganizzato ideato per la prima volta da
Mary Main e Judith Solomon, in cui non vi è coerenza di comportamento. Infatti questo stile di
attaccamento è caratterizzato da contradditorietà dei comportamenti, cioè cambiano comportamento da
un momento all’altro, e da comportamenti che danno l’idea di disorientamento. Nella strange situation il
bambino si presenta come:

- Ricerca di contatto fisico ma avversione dello sguardo

- Comportamenti contraddittori ad es: ricerca di contatto seguito da immobilità
- Comportamenti non diretti al genitore, incompleti o interrotti
- Stereotipie ( come sorriso a metà, fuori contesto come urlare impovvisamente)
- Movimenti rallentati

Inoltre il genitore del figlio con attaccamento disorganizzato tende a comportarsi in modo spaventante e
minacciante e adottare comportamenti indicanti dissociazione ( rumori strani, alterazione tono della voce).
Assume comportamenti in conflitto con quanto normalmente atteso dal ruolo genitoriale come
comportamenti timidi o sessualizzati o comportamenti disorganizzati/ disorentati. Si chiama disorganizzato
proprio perché insieme ci sono diverse rappresentazioni della figura genitoriale che possono essere
spaventose ma al contempo il bambino ne ha bisogno quindi riconosce la figura di attaccamento. La madre
è percepita contemporaneamente come figura di attaccamento da cui andare in situazioni di stress e fonte
di paura da cui allontanarsi quindi origine dello stress.

Now we have to talk about mentalizing,

an important characteristic of us humans is that we
can understand when an action happened by
chance or is the result of an intentional act. For
example, we can understand when a person
inadvertently steps on our foot or if he does so with
the intent to spite us; and consequently our
behavioral reaction will be different in one case and

On the contrary, the primates, even the most intelligent,

are not able or have more difficult to carry out this type
of operation,

In that contrasts between humans and primates we

can understand the fundamental traits that we
define mentalization.

The concept of mentalization conined by Fonagy

indicates the ability to represent one's own mind
and that of others. Mentalization is related to
attachment styles as good mentalization skills are
at the heart of resilience processes following abuse
or abandonment

It has been shown that the trauma that regulates

mentalization is very important in the transition to
parenthood as it is uniquely associated with the
involvement of positive feelings in pregnancy regarding
the sense of motherhood. It is hypothesized that the
absence or failures of mentalization regarding trauma
play a key role in intergenerational transmission through
disorganized attachment

In more recent times, however, some authors have

wondered what happened once a person became an
adult; it was not plausible that the attachment bond
would vanish or be set aside, this is how some studies on
the transgenerational attachment took root, in particular
on the parent-child transmission of one attachment style
rather than another, and on the way in which it happens
over time this transmission, it was possible to detect that
between the attachment style obtained through the
administration of the AAI to the adult and that obtained
through the Strange Situation of the child there is a direct
correspondence in 75% of cases. At this point numerous
studies have turned to the search for the existence of a
linear transmission of the attachment style, but it has
been found that in reality this linearity does not exist,
there is rather a strong influence due to the child's
growth environment in the its totality. the disorganized
behaviors of the parent are fully reflected in those of the
child, who "learns" to survive in contact with a highly
dysfunctional caregiver, with a form of relational and
behavioral learning equally maladaptive and which,
tendentially, will reappear in a vicious circle in
interpersonal relationships (baggage transmitted from
generation to generation).

Correlation between SSP and AAI Several independent

studies have shown significant correlations between the
state of attachment of children in the SSP and the
"mental state" of the respective caregivers, detected by
the AAI (Main and Goldwyn, 1984; Fonagy et al., 1991;
Fonagy , Steel and Steel, 1992). Parents with a mental
state related to their own free-autonomous attachment
history had, with very high frequency, children who
manifested a secure attachment (B) to them. Parents with
a distancing mental state (dismissing) had children with
an avoidant attachment (A). Parents with an enmeshed
(preoccupied) mental state had, with equal frequency,
children who manifested an ambivalent attachment to
them (C). Finally, parents with an unresolved mental
state compared to the serious traumas of their own
attachment history (unresolved), had children with a
disorganized / disoriented attachment (D). The statistical
significance of these four correlations between the
mental state of the parent and the attachment pattern of
the child varies between approximately 70 and 85% in
the different samples studied. This indicates that the
same representations that an adult has derived from the
relationship with the parents, are therefore transmitted,
with very high frequency, to the children of that adult in
the relationship that he establishes with his child. It is
through Internal Operative Models, therefore, that
childhood attachment patterns are transposed into adult
life and transmitted to the new generation.

Mothers ranged in age from 19 to 41 years (M = 28.77, SD = 5.57), and

most (58%) had children other than the index child (M = 0.91, SD = 1.02).
In terms of ethnicity, the majority were Caucasian (78%), the remainder
being African-American (11 %), Hispanic (4%), North African (4%), and
Asian (3%). The majority (61%) of mothers were in common-law
relationships, 30% were married, and 9% were single. In terms of
education, 48% had some post-secondary training and 47% had university
degrees. Sixty-four percent were employed.
Using CECA levels indicating some, moderate and marked abuse or
neglect (see below), 58% reported physical abuse, 39% sexual abuse, 79%
neglect, and 86% antipathy from a parental figure. The majority (73%)
reported marked maltreatment of at least one type. Of the physically
abused mothers, 11% reported marked severity, 37% moderate and 52%
reported some abuse.
The primary perpetrator of physical abuse was reported to be a natural
parent in 79% of cases (mother: 38%; father: 41%), a step-parent in 6%, a
foster parent in 6%, and relatives or others in 9%; 10% of physically
abused mothers reported being physically abused by more than one person.
Sexual abuse at the hands of a member of the household was reported by
19% of participants. Perpetrators of sexual abuse were reported to be
biological parents (9%), adoptive or step-parents (23%), siblings (9%),
relatives (18%), family friends (9%) and peers, strangers or acquaintances
(32%). Of the sexually abused mothers, 16% reported abuse from more
than one person. Among those who experienced neglect by primary
caregivers, 89% identified their mother and 82% their father as neglectful.
Among those who experienced parental antipathy, 79% reported antipathy
from their mother and 77% from their father.


Because we were interested in the implications of different levels of RF, as

defined by Fonagy et al. (1994), mothers were divided in three groups
based on their RF scores; absent RF (scores below 3), rudimentary RF (3-
4), and solid to good RF (5 and higher). Moreover, because our primary
interest was to examine predictors of secure versus insecure, or organized
versus disorganized infant attachment classifications, binary comparisons
rather than comparisons between the four specific attachment
classifications were conducted.


Of the 57 mothers with histories of abuse or neglect, 32% (n = 18) were

classified as secure, 21% (n = 12) as dismissing, 5% (n = 3) as
preoccupied, and 42% (n = 24) as unresolved. Fisher’s exact test showed
that there were no statistically significant relationships between infant
attachment security and demographic variables such as education (p = .76),
annual earnings (p = .17), or marital status (p = .12). Furthermore, one-
way analysis of variance revealed no significant differences in infant
attachment security related to maternal age. Similarly, there were no
significant associations between infant attachment disorganization and
socio-demographic characteristics.

Small POOL
The number of abused mothers was inadequate to
examine the impact of other types of maltreatment

And retrospective self-reports of child maltreatment

may have led to distortion in memories
The suggested causal relationship between the variables
remains hypothetical


This study addressed the role of unresolved trauma and

reflexive functioning. The most important finding of this
study is that both the unresolved trauma and trauma
mentalization, measured with RF-T, made a significant
contribution to the explanation of variance in children
with disorganized attachment measured 20 months later.
The results suggest that trauma-specific mentalization
difficulties are important for CA&N and their children.
Awareness of the emotional impact of abusive
experiences can help mothers maintain an appropriate
perspective to meet the needs of the child. So the ability
to mentalize increases the ability to maintain a controlled
reflexive functioning. Inadequate mentalization is
suspected of making mothers vulnerable to momentary
manifestations of inadequate aggression and failures to
accompany and accept infantile anxiety. It is interesting
to note that the results show that mentalization is not
determined by the characteristics of the trauma. This
suggests that it is not the experience of the trauma itself
but the absence of mentalization that underlies the risk of
disorganized attachment in the child. The inadequate
mentalization of traumatic experiences makes mothers
more vulnerable to failures in responding adequately to
the needs of the child especially when the memory of the
trauma that usually occurs through the vision of the
anguish of one's child is triggered. Basically this study
highlights the importance of mentalization…. But it
requires further research so as to intervene clinically
with abused parents with the aim of developing
awareness about the impacts of trauma on themselves
and their children.

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