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J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2009 Aug;50(8):931-42. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2009.02075.x. Epub 2009 Apr 1.

An exploratory study of the association between reactive attachment disorder and attachment narratives in early school-age children.

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1
Section of Psychological Medicine, University of Glasgow, Scotland. h.minnis@clinmed.gla.ac.uk

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To explore attachment narratives in children diagnosed with reactive attachment disorder (RAD).

METHOD:

We compared attachment narratives, as measured by the Manchester Child Attachment Story Task, in a group of 33 children with a diagnosis of RAD and 37 comparison children.

RESULTS:

The relative risk (RR) for children with RAD having an insecure attachment pattern was 2.4 (1.4-4.2) but 30% were rated as securely attached. Within the RAD group, children with a clear history of maltreatment were more likely to be Insecure-Disorganised than children without a clear history of maltreatment.

CONCLUSIONS:

Reactive attachment disorder is not the same as attachment insecurity, and questions remain about how attachment research informs clinical research on attachment disorders.

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