Study of the Attachment Representations of BA Students in the "Psychology" Study Course at the IPU Berlin – an Empirical Pilot Study

In collaboration with students from the IPU Berlin: Julien Friske (MA), Paulina Kiessling (MA), Katharina Bergdoll (MA), Jonathan Mühlbauer (MA) and Ferdinand Helmschmied (BA)
Supported by: Hamburg Foundation for the Advancement of Science and Culture
Funding: €11,000

6/2015–12/2017 / Project Head: Prof. Dr. Éva Hédervári-Heller


Aims, Project Questions

To date, little attention has been given in psychology studies to fundamental knowledge from attachment research in connection with the quality of the differing attachment representations in adulthood. In line with this, there is a lack of empirical data about the attachment organisation of students of psychology.

The main aim of the pilot study is to record the attachment representations (quality of the attachment status) of students at the IPU Berlin in the BA Psychology study course during their studies (1st and 2nd semesters). Furthermore, the students are given the opportunity to reflect together with an external lecturer on their own attachment representation in the context of their personal experience. The intention is for this to contribute to expanding the fundamental psychological competencies with a view to gaining (1) personal competency through self-reflection, and (2) professional competency through the acquisition of knowledge.

The intention with this empirical pilot study is to make a contribution to basic research.
The research questions are:
(1) What is the distribution of the differing attachment representations (secure-autonomous, insecure-rejecting, insecure-involved and unresolved) from students of psychology?
(2) Do students of psychology differ with respect to their attachment representations compared to
(a) students of childhood
(b) the general population, and
(c) therapists?
(3) How does students assess the reflection on their own attachment representation in their personal experience for their studies

Methods / Data Collection

The aim is to have a random sample of N=60.
1) Social status of the students, their motivation for studying, etc. (written survey)
2) Conducting and transcription of the AAP (Adult Attachment Projective in accordance with Georg et al. 1997) (the attachment representations of the students data collection process, approx. 30-minute interview)
3) Students' own personal experience about their own attachment representations with an external female attachment expert (weekend seminar in small groups, approx.10 minutes per student)
4) Written survey by the students about their personal experience.

The statistics and analysis program IBM SPSS Statistics 20 will be utilised to evaluate the statistical data analysis.