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J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 1994 Mar-Apr;33(3):328-32.

Reactive attachment disorder of infancy or early childhood.

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Yale Child Study Center, Yale University, New Haven CT.


Since its introduction into DSM-III, reactive attachment disorder has stood curiously apart from other diagnoses for two reasons; it remains the only diagnosis designed for infants, and it requires the presence of a specific etiology. This paper describes the pattern of disturbances demonstrated by some children who meet DSM-III-R criteria for reactive attachment disorder. Three suggestions are made: (1) the sensitivity and specificity of the diagnostic concept may be enhanced by including criteria detailing the developmental problems exhibited by these children; (2) the etiological requirement should be discarded given the difficulties inherent in obtaining complete histories for these children, as well as its inconsistency with ICD-10; and (3) the diagnosis arguably is not a disorder of attachment but rather a syndrome of atypical development.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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