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

Helen Minnis, Jonathan Green, Thomas G. O'Connor, Ashley Liew, D. Glaser, E. Taylor, M. Follan, D. Young, J. Barnes, C. Gillberg, A. Pelosi, J. Arthur, A. Burston, B. Connolly, F.A. Sadiq, Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Executive (Funder)

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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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)931-942
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2009


  • attachment
  • neglect
  • reactive attachment disorder
  • statistics

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