What do I research?
I am an attachment researcher. This means that I am interested in how early experiences with close others, especially at times when we needed emotional support, have shaped the way we experience difficulties later in life. Mainly, I am interested in the development of vulnerability to anxiety and depression (i.e., internalizing) symptoms across the lifespan, which stand at the basis of—or are strongly associated with—all other mental health struggles.
Specifically, I am interested in:
(a) The link between subtypes of insecure attachment representations and internalizing symptoms across the lifespan.
(b) The effect of early child attachment network to multiple caregivers (e.g., mothers and fathers) on socioemotional outcomes.
(c) The predictive power and buffering effect secure attachment representations have on the link between childhood adversities and adult physical health.
Why do I research attachment?
Better understanding of how attachment representations develop and influence our ability to cope with emotional distress across the lifespan entails crucial clinical implications. Specifically, attachment research has direct implications on shifting the focus of psychotherapy from the problem at hand (e.g., breaking up with a long-term romantic partner) towards what stands at the basis of not being able to manage it appropriately (i.e., having no one to go to and be effectively soothed by when dealing with such intense emotional distress).
How do I research attachment across the lifespan?
In collaboration with established researchers in the field of clinical and developmental science, I use observational measures (e.g., the Strange Situation Procedure; SSP), semi-structured interview assessments (e.g., the Adult Attachment Interview; AAI), and narrative coding techniques (e.g., Secure Base Script Assessment) to assess attachment representations across the lifespan. I also incorporate longitudinal, multivariate, and multilevel modeling (in R) to analyze large data sets. Lasty, I use both traditional and Individual Participant Data (IPD) meta-analytic methods to take stock of attachment research that has been carefully conducted in the past 50 years.