Attachment security priming and domestic violence: Augmenting biopsychosocial treatment of perpetrators

Kenneth Corvo, Daniel Sonkin, Morgan Cooney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


In spite of an inhospitable policy and funding environment for domestic violence perpetrator treatment, efforts in theory development and practice innovation have persisted. Among them are efforts to understand and treat domestic violence using attachment theory. General principles of attachment theory, as well as concepts more directly connected to violence between intimates and other family members, suggest approaches to working with perpetrators that show promise for emotional growth and behavioral change. One such approach is attachment security priming involving the clinical or experimental activation or evocation of secure attachment style through the use of various prompts or stimuli. Evidence supporting positive results from attachment security priming with potential for addressing domestic violence includes: diminished fear reactions, improved creative problem-solving, reduced psychological pain, persistence in managing uncomfortable feelings, more positive relationship expectations, less attachment anxiety, and modulation of threat-related amygdala reactivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)202-212
Number of pages11
JournalPartner Abuse
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2018


  • Attachment
  • Criminal justice policy
  • Domestic violence
  • Theory development
  • Therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Law
  • Gender Studies


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