Friday, 7 March 2014

Speaker: Antonia Bifulco, Professor of Lifespan Psychology; Co-director of Centre for Abuse and Trauma Studies, Middlesex University

Date: Thursday, March 20, 12:00 PM

Location: Committee Room 1, Town Hall

Title: 'Attachment style, relationships and psychological disorder - implications for Knowledge Exchange'.

Investigating attachment in human relationships is a fertile area for research into clinical outcomes, family life, and problem development. Bowlby and Ainsworth’s original concept of Secure versus Insecure attachment styles, formed in childhood in response to experiences with caregivers and which persist into adult life through ‘internal working models’ is now largely substantiated. Thus insecure anxious attachment styles are shown to mediate experience of neglect or abuse in childhood and adult major depression/anxiety disorder in prospective investigation. Further specificity of childhood experience, attachment style and type of disorder has been successfully mapped in an intergenerational London sample of high risk mothers and adolescent offspring to be described. Such research is of critical value to services working with families and clinical populations with this a key remit of the CATS team who worked on the intergenerational project. Examples are given of knowledge exchange around aspects such as the exchange of adapted standardised assessment procedures, practitioner training, monitoring of service outcomes, aids for case analysis and research dissemination.

Bifulco, A., & Thomas, G. (2012). Understanding adult attachment in family relationships: Research, Assessment and Intervention. London: Routledge.

Professor Antonia Bifulco is a Lifespan psychologist, currently head of the department of psychology at Middlesex University and co-director of the Centre for Abuse and Trauma Studies. Over a period of 20 years she worked together with her team on MRC funded research programmes into the lifespan psycho-social causes of mental health difficulties in women and inter-generationally. She has published extensively on the role of childhood neglect and abuse and adult adversity in longer term emotional disorder. Prof Bifulco is particularly concerned with propagating high quality research methods which include intensive, narrative style interviews to explore the context of experience of adversity, trauma and attachment in depth. She and her team are currently working closely with health and social care services to improve assessment procedures and practitioner understanding of attachment-based research in Child and Family services.

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