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Clinical theorists have suggested that disturbed attachments are central to borderline personality
disorder (BPD) psychopathology. This article reviews 13 empirical studies that examine the types
of attachment found in individuals with this disorder or with dimensional characteristics of BPD.
Comparison among the 13 studies is handicapped by the variety of measures and attachment types
that these studies have employed. Nevertheless, every study concludes that there is a strong associa-
tion between BPD and insecure attachment. The types of attachment found to be most characteristic
of BPD subjects are unresolved, preoccupied, and fearful. In each of these attachment types, indi-
viduals demonstrate a longing for intimacy and—at the same time—concern about dependency and
rejection. The high prevalence and severity of insecure attachments found in these adult samples sup-
port the central role of disturbed interpersonal relationships in clinical theories of BPD. This review
concludes that these types of insecure attachment may represent phenotypic markers of vulnerability
to BPD, suggesting several directions for future research.