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Attachment and developmental psychopathology: theory, research, and clinical applications


Admission requirements



This course concerns the state of the art of attachment theory and research. Current research from Leiden University as well as from other research groups will be discussed. During this course, students will have the chance to get “a look behind the scenes” in studies that have recently been conducted (or are currently going on) at the Center of Child and Family Studies.

The Handbook of Attachment and (more recent) articles that have been published in international scientific journals will be discussed. Students need to fill in a review form regarding the article that will be discussed.

Moreover, the students will develop a research proposal. The student aims to formulate an unanswered research question and defines a series of possible hypotheses, and an adequate study design. The proposal is presented by means of a PowerPoint presentation (lasting 5 to 10 minutes).

Furthermore a workshop on video feedback intervention will be given, after which the students prepare an intervention session as an intervener.

The course is completed with an exam. The exam will mainy cover topics that are discussed in the handbook but have not been presented or discussed during the lectures. Students have the opportunity to also take an oral exam on the Handbook of Attachment.

Course objectives

  • A thorough knowledge and understanding of attachment and life history theories based on the Handbook of Attachment, and of methodological approaches which are used in the papers (achievement level 1.3);

  • Developing a research proposal, showing the capacity to apply various theoretical frameworks (4), and the ability of critically selecting, studying and analyzing literature relevant to the issue (5);

  • Reviewing recent papers, thus showing the ability to engage in the international academic debate (8, 11);

  • Orally presenting a new research proposal and defend it in a discussion (7, 10, 11, 12);

  • Prepare and conduct an intervention session using video feedback (1,3,10).


Mode of instruction

Lectures and seminars.

Assessment method

  • Review forms

  • Quality and presentation of a research proposal

  • Written exam

  • Oral exam or book review

  • Preparation of an intervention session as an intervener


During this course Blackboard will be used.

Reading list

  • Cassidy, J. & Shaver, P. R. (Eds.), (2008). Handbook of attachment: Theory, research, and clinical applications. New York: The Guilford Press.

  • Juffer, F., Bakermans-Kranenburg, M.J., & Van IJzendoorn, M.H. (2008). Promoting positive parenting: An introduction. In F. Juffer, M.J. Bakermans-Kranenburg, & M.H. van IJzendoorn (Eds.), Promoting positive parenting: An attachment-based intervention. New York: Lawrence Erlbaum / Taylor & Francis.

  • Recent articles (will be made available on Blackboard).


Please note that separate uSis registration is mandatory for lectures, seminars, exams and re-exams. Student who do not register, cannot attend courses or take exams.


  • Registration for the lectures of the course is possible as of 100 calendar days through 10 calendar days before the first lecture at the latest;

  • Registration for the seminars of the course is possible as of 100 calendar days through 10 calendar days before the first seminar at the latest.


Student must register for each exam through uSis. This is only possible until 10 calendar days before the exam. More information on exam registration

Contact information

Dr. S. Biro
After classes or on appointment (by e-mail).