Cancer traditionally is viewed through the lens of the biomedical model. It has been suggested that a
broader theoretical framework with psychosocial components related to the development of cancer is
needed to provide a complementary perspective. The purpose here is to explore the utility of
attachment theory as a biopsychosocial model of both development and health. Attachment, a theory
of socio-emotional development, explains how social interactions between caregiver and child
establish lifelong psychosocial, physiological, affective, and cognitive patterns, as well as stress
response patterns to threat or illness. Despite attachment theory’s biopsychosocial foundation, the
application of attachment security as a factor in physical health and psychosomatic medicine is
relatively recent. This work reviews attachment theory and psychosocial literature on cancer and
follows a novel approach that conceptually integrates attachment theory and psychosocial related
cancer literature. A concluding integrative model of attachment theory and the type C behavior pattern
is provided to illustrate potential links and integrative processes that may lead to disease resilience or
Dr. A. M. Tacón,.
Department of Health, Exercise and Sport Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas, USA.
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