In the frame of the DAAD research network “Trauma, Trust, Memory” (Delic et al., 2014; Gast et al., 2013; Hamburger et al., 2014), studies have evolved on effects of war in ex-Yugoslavia on the development of attachment patterns (Stefanovic-Stanojevic, in Hamburger et al., 2013; Stefanović Stanojević & Nedeljković, 2009). About 800 students were surveyed in Banja Luka, where the war lasted for four years, Nis, which was bombed for 2,5 months, and Skopje, which was not involved with in wars. The results showed much higher frequency of the secure pattern in Skopje, and significantly higher frequency of the fearful pattern in Banja Luka. The study has been continued by a Nis based research group (Hedrih et al., 2016).
The international large scale study planned now at IPU will build on these first results, and in addition cover the effects of migration by comparing attachment and mentalization among young people in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Germany and Serbia. This follow-up study is designed to gather data in additional migration samples allowing comparison with the pilot study, but also to add more and better validated psychological instruments, as well as qualitative assessments of data-driven contrasting couples from the study.
This study will be highly relevant as it will provide rare insight into:
1. possible impact of social, and not only individual, trauma (Hamburger, 2016) on development and disturbances of attachment and mentalization;
2. attachment distributions in four different European societies and possible differences among them;
3. possible differences in attachment and mentalization between the groups of economic migrants and war refugees.
The focus of our preliminary phase is to translate and validate psychological instruments required for a reliable cross-cultural comparison of attachment and mentalization measures. The completion of this phase will increase eligibility of the research submission for the main study. The table below gives an overview of the current situation with existence and/or needs of reliable and valid self-report measures for attachment and mentalization assessment in adults.