Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Counseling and School Psychology

First Advisor

Linda Webster

First Committee Member

Rod P. Githens

Second Committee Member

Christina Alviso


This study investigated the usefulness of administering the Adult Attachment Projective Picture system (AAP) through a cultural lens with two Latino youth receiving mental health treatment. The AAP is a measure developed from the Bowlby-Ainsworth developmental attachment theory that is used to assess an attachment state of mind for individuals. These case studies facilitated an understanding of how the attachment perspective may be combined with knowledge of cultural themes represented in the AAP results to inform mental health treatment. Each of the participants of this single-subject study design are youth who have experienced symptoms of trauma. We observe from this study how trauma, cultural traditions, and developmental attachment are related. Based on qualitative findings of coded defense process markers of the AAP and instances of traditional Latino cultural themes, the researcher discusses recommendations for future mental health interventions for these two youth. It was found that cultural influences were depicted in the responses from the AAP and could therapeutically integrate with attachment classification. Cultural orientation as an adaptive process is helpful in assessing attachment. When viewed as non-adaptive, acculturative differences may cause distress among families. Both cases from this study were moving toward secure attachment. Case 2 was able to maximize the cultural background to adapt and showed more cultural themes in the AAP which was consistent with the family traditions used in real life to support this youth’s mental health progress. Clinicians and families can address youths’ attachment needs and trauma by utilizing cultural influences to inform mental health treatment.





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