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J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2002 Oct;43(7):835-46.

Annotation: attachment disorganisation and psychopathology: new findings in attachment research and their potential implications for developmental psychopathology in childhood.

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  • 1Academic Department of Child Psychiatry, Booth Hall Children's Hospital, University of Manchester, UK. jonathan.green@man.ac.uk

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The past 10 years have seen a fruitful line of enquiry building on identification of previously unclassifiable patterns of infant-mother interaction. A critical review of these new findings in attachment theory, highlighting their potential relevance to child psychopathology, is presented.

METHOD:

Selective literature review relating to disorganised attachment in childhood.

RESULTS:

Disorganised patterns of attachment have only relatively recently been described. They show characteristic patterns of evolution in development. There is evidence that disorganised attachments are associated with specific forms of distorted parenting, which are distinct from general parental insensitivity and are associated with unresolved loss or trauma in the caregiver. There are also links with aspects of neurodevelopment vulnerability in the child. Attachment disorganisation is a powerful predictor of a range of later social and cognitive difficulties and psychopathology.

CONCLUSIONS:

The identification of disorganised attachment has greatly increased the potential relevance of attachment theory to general clinical work. However, the concept raises many methodological and theoretical issues. Among issues needing further exploration is the way in which attachment disorganisation relates to children's general mental states and may be affected by cognitive functioning and developmental impairment.

PMID:
12405473
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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