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Am J Orthopsychiatry. 2008 Jul;78(3):322-32. doi: 10.1037/a0014070.

Attachment-based intervention for maltreating families.

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Ecole de Psychologie, Universite Laval, Quebec, Canada.


This article presents attachment theory-based intervention strategies as a means of addressing the core parent-child interaction deficits that characterize homes in which children are exposed to maltreatment. The article outlines the socioemotional and cognitive outcomes of maltreatment and proposes that although many prevention programs target different parental and family characteristics, few address the core relationship issues that are at stake. Recent research on attachment-based intervention strategies, aimed at improving the sensitivity and responsiveness of the parenting behaviors that children are exposed to, are presented as providing a means of addressing this domain. Attachment theory and research are briefly summarized, and the relational and interactional patterns observed in maltreating families, and their link to infant and child developmental outcome, are described. Research on attachment-based intervention is addressed, with a focus on studies conducted in the context of maltreating or high-risk families. This work is synthesized to present the basic components viewed as critical to effective attachment intervention with maltreating families. Finally, the authors end with recommendations aimed at the effective implementation of attachment-based intervention.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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