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Antonucci, Linda A.; Taurisano, Paolo; Coppola, Gabrielle; Cassibba, Rosalinda (2018): Attachment style: The neurobiological substrate, interaction with genetics and role in neurodevelopmental disorders risk pathways. In: Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, Vol. 95: pp. 515-527
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Literature has suggested that attachment insecurity has been previously associated with subsequent onset of several psychiatric conditions characterized by emotion dysregulation. Nevertheless, only few studies have investigated the neurobiological basis of attachment style and whether attachment insecurity may share a common neurobiological substrate with neurodevelopmental disorders. In this narrative contribution, we aimed to review existing literature on functional neurobiological correlates of attachment style to further understand (1) specific neurobiological patterns associated with attachment security variation, and (2) whether it is possible to identify a neurobiological overlap between attachment insecurity-related and neurodevelopmental disorders-related anomalies. Given the complex etiology of these diseases, we will also review gene by environment studies to investigate how attachment insecurity interacts with genetic factors in determining this common neurobiological substrate. We believe that a better understanding of how early attachment experiences may play a role in the pathophysiology of neurodevelopmental disorders is critical to plan effective clinical interventions to reduce both the likelihood for poor parenting and the risk for the onset of psychiatric conditions.