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Affiliation and Attachment

RDoC Classification

Domain: Social Processes


Affiliation is engagement in positive social interactions with other individuals. Attachment is selective affiliation as a consequence of the development of a social bond. Affiliation and Attachment are moderated by social information processing (processing of social cues) and social motivation. Affiliation is a behavioral consequence of social motivation and can manifest itself in social approach behaviors. Affiliation and Attachment require detection of and attention to social cues, as well as social learning and memory associated with the formation of relationships. Affiliation and Attachment include both the positive physiological consequences of social interactions and the behavioral and physiological consequences of disruptions to social relationships. Clinical manifestations of disruptions in Affiliation and Attachment include social withdrawal, social indifference and anhedonia, and over-attachment.


3CRFCRFR2D1DopamineKORMu opioid receptorOxytocinoxytocin receptorVasopressinvasopressin 1a receptor


Magnocellular OT


AmygdalaBNSTFF gyrusNAccOFCPVNVMPFCVTA- NAcc- VP-amygdala


activation of sympathetic activityHPA axis activationHPA down-regulationImmune markersimmune responses (“sickness”)Sex steroid changesVagal tonevagal withdrawal


Attachment Formation

Maintaining proximityPreference for individual

Attachment Maintenance

Distress upon separation


Adult Attachment InterviewAttachment Questionnaire for Children ScaleAttachment Style interviewBartholomew and ShaverBereavement scalesExperience in Close Relationships ScaleInventory of Parent and Peer Attachment ScaleMultidimensional Scale of Perceived Social SupportParental Bonding InstrumentQSORT Parent Attachment interviewSocial Anhedonia scaleSocial subscales of depression


CyberballOne-armed Bandit Task