- Tasha R. Howe
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Attachment disorder; Insecure attachment; Reactive attachment disorder
Disorganized/Disoriented attachment is characterized in Ainsworth’s “strange situation” task as a child who exhibits behavioral disorganization or disorientation in the form of wandering, confused expressions, freezing, undirected movements, or contradictory (i.e. “unorganized”) patterns of interaction with a caregiver. Most of these children have histories of maltreatment and may exhibit fear of the caregiver.
In Mary Ainsworth’s original work on attachment classifications  three categories of infant–parent attachment were elucidated. The majority of children were securely attached and showed appropriate distress upon separation from mother, willingness to explore in mother’s presence, and fear of strangers. Mothers of securely attached infants can readily soothe a distressed child and children feel comfortable exploring new environments while in their moth ...
- Ainsworth, M. D., & Bell, S. M. (1970). Attachment, exploration and separation: Illustrated by the behavior of one-year-olds in a strange situation. Child Development, 41, 49–67.
- Main, M., & Solomon, J. (1990). Procedures for identifying infants as disorganized/disoriented during the Ainsworth Strange Situation. In M. T. Greenberg, D. Cicchetti, & E. M. Cummings (Eds.), Attachment in the preschool years: Theory, research, and intervention (pp. 121–160). The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation series on mental health and development. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
- Main, M., & Hesse, E. (1990). Parents’ unresolved traumatic experiences are related to infant disorganized attachment status: Is frightened and/or frightening parental behavior the linking mechanism? In M. T. Greenberg, D. Cicchetti, & E. M. Cummings (Eds.), Attachment in the preschool years: Theory, research, and intervention (pp. 161–182). The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation series on mental health and development. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
- Porter, B. E., & Howe, T. R. (2008). Pilot evaluation of the “ACT Parents Raising Safe Kids” violence prevention program. Journal of Child & Adolescent Trauma, 1, 193–206.
- Juffer, F., Bakermans-Kranenburg, M. J., & vanIJzzendoorn, M. H. (2005). The importance of parenting in the development of disorganized attachment: Evidence from a preventive intervention study in adoptive families. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 46, 263–274.
- vanIjzendoorn, M. H., Schuengel, C., & Bakermans-Kranenburg, M. J. (1999). Disorganized attachment in early childhood: Meta-analysis of precursors, concomitants, and sequelae. Development and Psychopathology, 11, 225–249.
- Disorganized/Disoriented Attachment
- Reference Work Title
- Encyclopedia of Child Behavior and Development
- pp 514-515
- Print ISBN
- Online ISBN
- Springer US
- Copyright Holder
- Springer Science+Business Media, LLC
- Additional Links
- Industry Sectors
- eBook Packages
- Editor Affiliations
- 480. Neurology, Learning and Behavior Center
- 481. Department of Psychology MS 2C6, George Mason University
- Tasha R. Howe (1)
- Author Affiliations
- 1. Department of Psychology, Humboldt State University, 1 Harpst Street, Arcata, CA, 95521, USA
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