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Maier, Markus A.; Bernier, Annie; Pekrun, Reinhard; Zimmermann, Peter; Grossmann, Klaus E. (2004): Attachment working models as unconscious structures: An experimental test. In: International Journal of Behavioral Development, Vol. 28, No. 2: pp. 180-189




Internal working models of attachment (IWMs) are presumed to be largely unconscious representations of childhood attachment experiences. Several instruments have been developed to assess IWMs; some of them are based on self-report and others on narrative interview techniques. This study investigated the capacity of a self-report measure, the Inventory of Parent and Peer Attachment (IPPA; Armsden & Greenberg, 1987), and of a narrative interview method, the Adult Attachment Interview (AAI; George, Kaplan, & Main, 1985), to measure unconscious attachment models. We compared scores on the two attachment instruments to response latencies in an attachment priming task. It was shown that attachment organisation assessed by the AAI correlates with priming effects, whereas the IPPA scales were inversely or not related to priming. The results are interpreted as support for the assumption that the AAI assesses, to a certain degree, unconscious working models of attachment.