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Link Between Childhood Attachment and Personality Disorders

Based on attachment theory, which is a biopsychosocial model, the ways we relate in relationships with parents, children, and romantic partners are learned during infancy. These characteristics then mold subsequent intimate relationships. In this blog post, Blair Wellness Group discusses the ways in which childhood attachment affects mental health and, more specifically, the link between childhood attachment and personality disorders. Reach out to our licensed clinical psychologists in Beverly Hills to learn more today. 

Attachment and How It Relates to Personality Disorders

Attachment is the emotional bond between a child and their parents, which begins at infancy and continues through adolescence.  It is believed to have been established by evolutionary forces because it helps children survive by keeping them close to their caregivers, who can protect them from predators or other dangers.

Studies have shown that this early attachment may also play a role in the development of personality disorders. Children who do not have a strong emotional bond with their parents are more likely to develop personality disorders later in life. This may be because they never learn how to form healthy relationships with others.

Types of Attachment at Infancy

The types of attachment include:

  • Secure attachment: Children with secure attachments have a strong relationship with their caregiver and feel safe in their environments and are able to form healthy relationships later in life because they know how to connect emotionally with others due to this early connection.
  • Avoidant attachment: These children tend not to be as close to their caregivers, and they may appear indifferent when being left alone or separated from them. They have learned not to rely on others for support because they believe that nobody can help them in times of need.
  • Anxious attachment: These children are clingy and dependent on their caregiver’s presence too much. They fear separation and often feel unsafe when they are not around their caregiver. This can lead to problems forming healthy relationships in adulthood because they do not know how to be independent.

Types of Attachment and Personality Disorder Diagnosis

Studies show that children with avoidant attachment are more likely to have antisocial personality disorder, while those with anxious attachments tend to develop borderline personality disorders. Those who had secure attachments as infants were less likely to be diagnosed with any type of mental illness later in life.

Childhood Trauma and Personality Disorders

Previous research has shown a link between childhood trauma and  the development of personality disorders. Children who do not have a strong emotional bond with their parents are more likely to develop personality disorders later in life. This may be because they never learn how to connect emotionally with others due to this early connection or fear separation and often feel unsafe when they are not around their caregiver.

Blair Wellness Group is a leading provider of mental health services, specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of personality disorders. If you or someone you know is struggling with a personality disorder, reach out to our licensed clinical psychologists today.

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