A vicious circle: transgenerational attachment representations in a case of factitious illness by proxy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • G Adshead
  • J Bluglass

Colleges, School and Institutes


Attachment theory offers a robust way to investigate transgenerational child maltreatment; first because there is a coherent theoretical hypothesis of how this might be mediated by the development of insecure working models of relationships, and second, because there is existing evidence from prospective studies that transgenerational attachment patterns can be predicted. Specifically, attachment theory may be particularly useful in cases of Fictitious Illness by Proxy (FIP), where the maltreating behavior is characterized bv disordered illness behavior and care-eliciting. We present a case history, using the Adult Attachment Interview (AAI), which examines attachment and child maltreatment in three generations. A single case history allows for hypothesis generation about the genesis of FIP behavior.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-95
Number of pages19
JournalAttachment and Human Development
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2001