Prevalence of reactive attachment disorder in a deprived population

Minnis, Helen and Macmillan, Susan and Pritchett, Rachel and Young, David and Wallace, Brenda and Butcher, John and Sim, Fiona and Baynham, Katie and Davidson, Claire and Gillberg, Christopher (2013) Prevalence of reactive attachment disorder in a deprived population. British Journal of Psychiatry, 202 (5). pp. 342-346. ISSN 0007-1250 (

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Reactive attachment disorder (RAD) is associated with early childhood maltreatment and has unknown population prevalence beyond infancy. All 1646 children aged 6-8 years old in a deprived sector of an urban UK centre were screened for RAD symptoms. Parents of high and low scorers were interviewed using semi-structured interviews probing for psychopathology and individuals likely to have RAD were offered face-to-face assessment. Questionnaire data were available from 92.8% of teachers and 65.8% of parents. Assessments were conducted with 50% of those invited and missing data were imputed - based on the baseline data - for the rest. We calculated that there would be 23 children with definite RAD diagnoses, suggesting that the prevalence of RAD in this population was 1.40% (95% CI 0.94-2.10). In this deprived general population, RAD was not rare.