Staff attachment styles: a pilot study investigating the influence of adult attachment styles on staff psychological mindedness and therapeutic relationships



The attachment styles of psychiatric staff are likely to impact on their capacity to form positive therapeutic relationships with patients with psychosis. Twenty staff completed a measure assessing levels of attachment anxiety and avoidance. Staff and patients completed a measure of patients' interpersonal problems and staff completed the Five-Minute Speech Sample, which was used to derive ratings of psychological mindedness and therapeutic relationships. Higher staff avoidance was associated with greater discrepancies in staff and patient ratings of patients' interpersonal problems and poorer staff psychological mindedness. Lower staff anxiety and avoidance were associated with positive therapeutic relationships. Findings warrant replication in larger samples, but suggest that staff attachment style may be important in the development of better quality staff and patient relationships. © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Clin Psychol 64: 355–363, 2008.