Immigration from an attachment perspective

Yolanda van Ecke1
1University of Amsterdam, Netherlands
Cite this article:  van Ecke, Y. (2005). Immigration from an attachment perspective. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 33(5), 467-476.

Volume 33 Issue 5 | e1410 | Published: August 2005 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.2005.33.5.467

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The current literature on attachment and immigration is reviewed and attachment theory is used to illuminate immigrants’ responses during the stages of premigration, transit, settlement, and adjustment/adaptation. The author argues that immigrants are more likely than nonimmigrants to have an insecure attachment representation, and considers both causes and effects of immigration from an attachment theory perspective. It is suggested that long-term implications of immigration experience may include increased vulnerability to attachment trauma, and that understanding social support and clinical aspects of immigrants’ needs will benefit from the application of attachment theory. The author considers the usefulness of applying attachment theory to the experiences of nonimmigrant groups including expatriate employees, members of the armed services, government employees stationed abroad, and even foreign students. Several attachment-based research focuses to examine attachment among immigrants are proposed.

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