Objective: Based on the premise that attachment experiences lead to a working model for social relationships throughout life, this study investigates if there is a difference between adult attachment representations in individuals who were brought up by a parent with Huntington's disease (HD), compared to a non-clinical population. Specific events in the parents' disease process, especially those leading to trauma and loss will receive attention. Methods: Using the Adult Attachment Interview, adult attachment representations were investigated in 32 unaffected adults at 50% risk for HD who were raised by an affected parent. Results: We found a lower percentage of secure attachment representations, a higher percentage of preoccupied representations, and a higher percentage of unresolved/disorganized representations in our sample, compared to a non-clinical population. A relatively late start of the parent's HD career was associated with a secure adult attachment representation. Death of the HD parent before the child's 18th birthday was associated with an unresolved/disorganized adult attachment representation. Conclusion: Growing up in a family where one of the parents has Huntington's disease appears to affect the offspring's adult attachment representation. Practice implications: This study can be of relevance for genetic counselling, as well as for counselling and intervention in childrearing matters.

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doi.org/10.1016/j.pec.2005.11.019, hdl.handle.net/1765/70837
Patient Education and Counseling
Department of Clinical Genetics

van der Meer, L., Timman, R., Trijsburg, W., Duisterhof, M., Erdman, R., van Elderen, T., & Tibben, A. (2006). Attachment in families with Huntington's disease. A paradigm in clinical genetics. Patient Education and Counseling, 63(1-2), 246–254. doi:10.1016/j.pec.2005.11.019