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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    • "A large body of evidence shows that the quality of infant-caregiver interactions (sensitivity and responsiveness of the caregiver) during the first few months has an important influence on the quality of the attachment relationship (De Wolff and Van IJzendoorn 1997; Bakermans-Kranenburg et al. 2003). In turn, early attachment security has a significant impact on self-and emotion-regulation skills later in life (Sroufe et al. 2005; Fearon et al. 2010; Groh et al. 2012). "
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    ABSTRACT: Infants have been shown to possess remarkable competencies in social understanding. Little is known, however, about the interplay between the quality of infants’ social-emotional experiences with their caregivers and social-cognitive processes in infancy. Using eye-tracking we investigated the relation of infant attachment quality and maternal sensitivity with 12-month-old infants’ monitoring patterns during the observation of abstractly depicted interactions of a “parent” and a “baby” figure. We found that secure infants focused their attention on the “parent” figure relative to the “baby” figure more than insecure infants when the two figures got separated. Infants with more sensitive mothers focused their attention more on the ongoing behavior of the “parent” figure after the separation than infants with less sensitive mothers when distress of the “baby” figure was implied by accompanying baby crying sounds. Our findings support the notion that early social-emotional experiences with the caregiver are related to social information processing and that these social information processing patterns might be markers of infants’ developing internal working models of attachment.
    Brain and Behavior 10/2015; DOI:10.1002/brb3.410 · 2.24 Impact Factor
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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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    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.
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