The Significance of Insecure Attachment and Disorganization in the Development of Children’s Externalizing Behavior: A Meta-Analytic Study

School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences, University of Reading, 3 Earley Gate, Whiteknights, Reading RD6 6AL, United Kingdom.
Child Development (Impact Factor: 4.92). 03/2010; 81(2):435-56. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2009.01405.x
Source: PubMed


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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    • "Bates and Dozier (2002) found proportions of attachment states of mind comparable to that in the general population, although there was a trend showing fewer secure-autonomous and preoccupied foster mothers, and more dismissing and unresolved foster mothers. When children are placed with insecure foster mothers, they are more likely to show disorganized attachment behaviors (Dozier, Stoval, Albus, & Bates, 2001) – a form of attachment that is a significant risk factor for child maladjustment in the short-and long-term (Fearon et al., 2010; Groh et al., 2012). In line with these results, a recent study showed that foster caregivers' insecure states of mind were associated with increased atypical parenting while interacting with the foster child (Ballen et al., 2010). "
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    ABSTRACT: This study investigated different environmental and contextual factors associated with maltreated children's adjustment in foster care. Participants included 83 children (52 boys), ages 1-7 years, and their foster caregivers. Quality of interaction with the foster caregiver was assessed from direct observation of a free-play situation; foster caregiver attachment state of mind and commitment toward the child were assessed using two interviews; disruptive behavior symptoms were reported by foster caregivers. Results showed that quality of interaction between foster caregivers and children were associated with behavior problems, such that higher-quality interactions were related to fewer externalizing and internalizing problems. Foster caregivers' state of mind and commitment were interrelated but not directly associated with behavior problems of foster children. Type of placement moderated the association between foster caregiver commitment and foster child behavior problems. Whereas greater foster caregiver commitment was associated with higher levels of adjustment for children in foster families (kin and non-kin), this was not the case in foster-to-adopt families. Finally, the associations between foster child behavior problems and history of maltreatment and placement related-risk conditions fell below significance after considering child age and quality of interaction with the foster caregiver. Findings underscore the crucial contribution of the foster caregiver-child relationship to fostering child adjustment and, thereby, have important implications for clinical services offered to this population. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Child abuse & neglect 07/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.chiabu.2015.06.009 · 2.34 Impact Factor
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    • "A striking challenge for attachment researchers is that little evidence has been found showing a relationship between different attachment styles and particular forms of psychopathology. In a meta-analysis, Fearon et al. found a significant association between insecure attachment and later externalizing problems in children, with a larger effect size for boys and for disorganized children (Fearon et al., 2010). Beyond this, no specific relationship has as yet been found between attachment styles and specific psychopathologies. "
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    ABSTRACT: This article attempts to trace the intellectual history of the relationship between attachment theory and psychoanalytic thinking, and considers where we are now in the discourse between the two fields. We describe some of the points of convergence, as well as areas of continuing contention, and suggest future directions for attachment work which have a bearing on its relationship with psychoanalysis. In particular, mentalizing theory is discussed as a line of thinking that draws on both attachment ideas and psychoanalysis; recent developments in mentalizing are described within an argument about the future development of attachment thinking. Two constructs connected to attachment and mentalizing, epistemic trust and the concept of a general factor in psychopathology, are discussed along with the implications of these ideas for thinking about the common factors that effective psychotherapeutic interventions share.
    British Journal of Psychotherapy 05/2015; 31(2). DOI:10.1111/bjp.12150
    • "For example, an out-of-home placement is sometimes necessary because of serious threats to a child's health, wellbeing and development (Oosterman et al. 2007; Van der Horst and Van der Veer 2009; Van IJzendoorn 2008), but at the same time it can be harmful, especially to young children who are still developing close attachment relations (Juffer 2010; Perry 2009). Because child maltreatment cases may result in longterm harm or even death of a child, it is necessary to make timely decisions and provide appropriate care (Cyr et al. 2010; Fearon et al. 2010; Perry 2002). Under such time pressure and uncertainty, and due to limited cognitive resources, practitioners' information processing may be compromised. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Practitioners investigating cases of suspected child maltreatment often disagree whether a child is subject to or at risk of abuse or neglect in the family and, if so, what to do about such abuse or neglect. Structured decision-making is considered to be a solution to the problem of subjective judgments and decisions. Objective This study investigates the effects of ORBA, a method for structured decision-making in Advice and Reporting Centres for Child Abuse and Neglect (ARCCAN), on interrater agreement of judgments and decisions. Methods Two groups of ARCCAN practitioners, one trained in using ORBA and one untrained, used a questionnaire to make judgments and decisions on the same case vignettes. Interrater agreement on the judgments was obtained by calculating the percentage of agreement, intra class correlation, and the Kappa coefficient. Results Both ORBA trained and untrained practitioners showed little agreement on judgments and decisions, except for the judgment on child maltreatment substantiation, for which trained practitioners showed fair agreement. Agreement among trained and untrained practitioners only differed for some judgments and decisions, and differences were not always in the same direction. Conclusions This result indicates no convincing evidence that structured decision-making leads to better agreement on decisions concerning child abuse and neglect. Recommendations for improvements in uniform decision-making and further research are given.
    Child and Youth Care Forum 10/2014; 43(5). DOI:10.1007/s10566-014-9259-9 · 1.25 Impact Factor
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