Last updated on 15th October 2009
Last week I wrote about "A couple of fine books on attachment". Today I want to highlight what a fantastic resource the internet is - below are details of half a dozen websites that offer lots of attachment information, and also details of further websites that are helpful but more limited.
As a starter, I nominate Wikipedia! In the recent BMJ article "A wicked encyclopaedia", the GP author, Des Spence, wrote "I confess to now using Wikipedia for medical topics. I know I shouldn't, but my experience is that its information is accessible, accurate, and untainted by profit and that all "facts" are openly contestable." Well, as a non-expert in the field of attachment, I certainly think Wikipedia provides a series of excellent articles on attachment - including attachment theory, attachment in children, attachment in adults, and attachment measures.
Because my own interests centre around attachment in adults, my second website choice is Phil Shaver's Adult Attachment Lab at the University of California. They write "The objective of our lab is to advance current understanding of adult attachment dynamics. Currently, research in the Adult Attachment Lab is focused on understanding the conscious and unconscious dynamics of the attachment behavioral system and associations between adult attachment style and other psychological constructs such as self-esteem, personality traits, death anxiety, and compassion and altruism." What I particularly like about this website is the access it provides to a wealth of superb free full text articles & book chapters by Shaver and colleagues. You need to ask for specific publications using the automated request form (rather than simply downloading a PDF), but this seems to work quickly and well.
More broadly relevant for infant, parenting and also couples research is the site http://www.johnbowlby.com/ providing "Reports and commentary on attachment theory and research from Everett Waters, Judy Crowell, Harriet Waters and colleagues at SUNY Stony Brook and the New York Attachment Consortium. A library of researchers' publication lists and on-line articles. Attachment measures for infant- mother, childhood, parenting, and marriage research. Course materials. Announcements and summaries of special events. Links to attachment related sites. Special Bowlby and Ainsworth sections. And a gallery of attachment artefacts and observations in the Bowlby - Ainsworth tradition." Much useful material here including clips of key figures in the initial development of attachment theory - John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth.
Blowing our local Edinburgh connection, there is the Family and Personal Relationships Laboratory. Their publicity material states "Successful relationships are vital to individual happiness as well as mental and physical well-being, the success of families, and the social health of communities. The Family and Personal Relationships Laboratory at Heriot-Watt University employs rigorous scientific methodology to the study of how and why human bonds sometimes fail, what the consequences are, and how our society in turn can promote healthy attachments, healthy attitudes and relationship beliefs, and healthy interpersonal interaction." Again there are some useful downloads and links.
Fascinating as well is the Kansas University Gillath Lab - "Our research focuses on close relationships and their underlying mechanisms. In the past few years we've investigated the psychological aspect of behavioral systems, especially the attachment, care giving, and sexual mating systems. We're expanding this work by using neuroimaging techniques, social-cognitive approaches, and genetic markers to examine a diverse range of correlates and underpinnings of socially significant behavioral systems. In our work we explore the associations between a person's attachment style (relationship style) and goals and behaviors in the caregiving and sexual domains (e.g., ability to provide and receive compassionate care; interest in short- vs. long-term mating strategies). We're also exploring the effects of increasing people's sense of attachment security on their tendency to engage in pro-social behavior, their altruistic and sexual attitudes, and their goals, as well as their attentional strategies." There are links to downloadable article PDF's and also questionnaires on sexual goals/strategies, attachment and relationship behaviours.
Finally, in this list of half a dozen particularly interesting sites, I mention a somewhat different kind of resource, Chris Fraley's http://www.yourpersonality.net/ which says "Welcome to YourPersonality.net. This site provides a number of on-line personality and close relationships tests, experiments, and demonstrations that you can take to learn more about your self and the way you relate to others. Each test is designed to provide you with customized feedback based on your responses. Participation is free, informative, and fun!" There are several useful questionnaires involving adult attachment, relationships and sexuality.
Others sites to mention are Jude Cassidy's at Maryland and Mario Mikulincer's at Herzlyia (central figures in attachment research but with less resource-rich sites), Chris Fraley's Illinois site and Kim Bartholomew's at Simon Fraser University (useful but getting dated), and othes too like Paula Pietromonaco's at UMASS and Robin Edelstein's at Michigan. What a lot of knowledge there now is at our fingertips.
... and there is another useful site I've just stumbled on The attachment theory website by Richard Atkins, which provides useful resources, links and information about assessment measures.