Greater Brisbane


Divorce & Attachment Relationships: The Longitudinal Journey

July 2011 | Research papers


Alan Sroufe and Jennifer McIntosh


What are the longitudinal consequences of disrupted attachment relationships, and what bearing might that have on our thinking about divorce custody matters? In this paper, Alan Sroufe, William Harris Professor of Child Development, University of Minnesota, addresses these issues. Sroufe is a lead researcher on the Minnesota Longitudinal Study of Childhood, now a 30-year research program that sets out to explore the development of children growing up in climates of chronic socioeconomic risk. This study is widely attributed with providing an “organizational perspective” on early attachment and an ecological map of the child’s growing ability to cope with chronic environmental and familial strain across lifetime. In this interview, Sroufe offers candid views from his longitudinal research, emphasizing the influence of attachment security in the progression of relationship competence across the life span, and considers implications for complex custody matters.



Children and Youth, Families, Legal, Mediation/Family Dispute Resolution