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Leuven Experimental Attachment Research Lab

Director/Primary Investigator of Lab: Guy Bosmans, PhD

The research at our lab focuses on increasing the understanding of the attachment construct, of the mechanisms explaining the link between insecure attachment and the development of emotional and behavior problems, and of best practice strategies to treat attachment-related problems in child welfare and mental health care settings. The studies are predominantly carried out in middle childhood, but we are interested in developmental pathways throughout adolescence into young adulthood. Our research builds on the assumption that individual differences in whether or not children develop secure attachments reflects whether or not children were able to develop a secure base script. This is a cognitive schema that reflects the expected occurrence of a chain of events. This script starts with experiencing exposure to distress, is followed by experiencing adequate care and support from attachment figures, and is finished after the experience where as a result support normative exploration and development towards autonomy can be resumed. Our lab’s main goal is to use experimental designs to show how confidence in maternal support that children derive from such scripts is characterized by biases in the (attention, memory, interpretation) processing of attachment related information, how this guides their support and care seeking behavior, and how this determines their vulnerability to develop emotional and behavior problems.

Other Lab Websites: The Leuven Attachment Experimental Research Lab

Active Funded Projects in Collaboration with CFIS

Attachment Based Family Therapy during Home Guidance in Flemish Child Welfare: Exploring Implementation, Effectiveness and Dissemination

In this project, we evaluate the extent to which Attachment-Based Family Therapy (ABFT) can be used during child welfare home guidance. First results look very promising.

Proposed Projects in Collaboration with CFIS