Origins of Secure Base Script Knowledge and the Developmental Construction of Attachment Representations

Theodore E.A. Waters, Sarah K. Ruiz, Glenn I. Roisman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Increasing evidence suggests that attachment representations take at least two forms: a secure base script and an autobiographical narrative of childhood caregiving experiences. This study presents data from the first 26 years of the Minnesota Longitudinal Study of Risk and Adaptation (N = 169), examining the developmental origins of secure base script knowledge in a high-risk sample and testing alternative models of the developmental sequencing of the construction of attachment representations. Results demonstrated that secure base script knowledge was predicted by observations of maternal sensitivity across childhood and adolescence. Furthermore, findings suggest that the construction of a secure base script supports the development of a coherent autobiographical representation of childhood attachment experiences with primary caregivers by early adulthood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)198-209
Number of pages12
JournalChild development
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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