Adult Attachment, Emotional Dysregulation and Metacognitive Functions in Patients with Personality Disorders


As Ainsworth (1982, 1989) and Bowlby (1979, 1980) pointed out, all infants develop some form of attachment to their primary caregiver. Indeed, attachment began at infancy and continued throughout life. Secure attachment is a necessary precursor of the ability to regulate affect and to reflect on the emotional functioning of self and others (Fonagy, 2001). According to Hazan and Shaver (1987), the purpose of this survey is to investigate the relationship between attachment styles and emotional dysregulation, and between adult attachment and metacognition in patients with personality disorders. The research has involved 120 participants, aged 18 - 65 years and recruited during psychotherapy training. Control group is formed by 60 adults (mean = 30.07; standard deviation = 14.09); experimental group is formed by 60 patients with personality disorder (mean = 31.88; standard deviation = 12.21) grouped into three clusters: A (the “odd, eccentric” cluster), B (the “dramatic, emotional, erratic” cluster), and C (the “anxious, fearful” cluster). Paricipants completed the following tests: Experiences in Close Relationships Inventory, ECR, Alexithymia Scale, TAS-20 and Metacognitive Functions Screening Scale, MFSS-30. The results confirm the relationship between attachment styles, emotional dysregulation, and metacognitive functions in patients with personality disorders. More specifically, adult attachment and metacognitive functions seem to be positively related, while adult attachment and emotional dysregulation seem to be inversely related.

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Alaimo, S. and Cascio, M. (2015) Adult Attachment, Emotional Dysregulation and Metacognitive Functions in Patients with Personality Disorders. Psychology, 6, 1940-1950. doi: 10.4236/psych.2015.614191.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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