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Child mental representations of attachment when mothers are traumatized: The relationship of family-drawings to story-stem completion.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons, New York, NY, U.S.A.


This study examines the relationship between child play-narratives and family drawings by children of violence-exposed mothers with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The Family Attachment Drawing Task (FAD-T) and MacArthur Story Stem Battery (MSSB) were administered. Of the 23 children (ages 4-7 years), 16 (70%) created drawings that were coded as being representative of insecure attachment. Attachment insecurity and disorganization of child-caregiver attachment on the FAD-T were significantly associated with trauma-related dimensions of the MSSB, but not to other factors. This study suggests that the FAD-T provides access to child mental representations, which may affect intergenerational transmission of violent trauma.

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