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Child Dev. 2010 Mar-Apr;81(2):435-56. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2009.01405.x.

The significance of insecure attachment and disorganization in the development of children's externalizing behavior: a meta-analytic study.

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1
School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences, University of Reading, 3 Earley Gate, Whiteknights, Reading RD6 6AL, United Kingdom. p.fearon@reading.ac.uk

Abstract

This study addresses the extent to which insecure and disorganized attachments increase risk for externalizing problems using meta-analysis. From 69 samples (N = 5,947), the association between insecurity and externalizing problems was significant, d = 0.31 (95% CI: 0.23, 0.40). Larger effects were found for boys (d = 0.35), clinical samples (d = 0.49), and from observation-based outcome assessments (d = 0.58). Larger effects were found for attachment assessments other than the Strange Situation. Overall, disorganized children appeared at elevated risk (d = 0.34, 95% CI: 0.18, 0.50), with weaker effects for avoidance (d = 0.12, 95% CI: 0.03, 0.21) and resistance (d = 0.11, 95% CI: -0.04, 0.26). The results are discussed in terms of the potential significance of attachment for mental health.

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