Marinus Van IJzndoorn
Marinus H. Van IJzendoorn, PhD, Dr h.c.
Professor of Human Development at the Department of Psychology, Education and Child Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands;
Honorary Senior Visiting Fellow, School of Clinical Medicine, University of Cambridge, UK.
In the neurobiological era of the genome, brain and hormones the influence of parenting on child development is not self-evident anymore. How crucial are parents and other caregivers in shaping children’s development, not only in relatively regular settings and circumstances but also in extreme situations of family violence, institutional neglect or social upheaval? What influence do children in their turn have on their parents and caregivers, and in what ways do they trigger specific parental interactions, and help build a relationship? And how is the neurobiology of parenting and child development limiting or opening up opportunities for (preventive) intervention from the perspective of differential susceptibility theory? Attachment theory has been my major source of inspiration to address these questions over the past four decades.
Attachment and developmental psychopathology
Attachment is an innate, evolutionary rooted bias to develop a protective relationship with parents and/or other caregivers. Individual differences in attachment security and disorganization, however, are mostly environmentally shaped, for example by parental sensitive responsiveness or insensitive lack of protection. Infant disorganized attachment and later adult unresolved loss or trauma are considered to be risk factors for the development of psychopathology. In this presentation I will discuss the complex relation of attachment to developmental psychopathology on the behavioral and neurobiological level.