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

Minnis, H. and Green, J. and O'Connor, T. and Liew, A. and Glaser, G. and Taylor, E. and Follan, M. and Young, D. and Barnes, J. and Gillberg, C. and Pelosi, A.J. and Arthur, J. and Burston, A. and Connolly, B. and Sadiq, F.A. (2009) An exploratory study of the association between reactive attachment disorder and attachment narratives in early school-age children. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 50 (8). pp. 931-942. ISSN 0021-9630

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Abstract

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.