Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 487–507

Clinic referral for oppositional defiant disorder: Relative significance of attachment and behavioral variables

  • Matthew L. Speltz
  • Michelle De Klyen
  • Mark T. Greenberg
  • Marilyn Dryden


Attachment classifications have been found to distinguish clinic-referred, oppositional preschool boys from controls, but there has been no previous effort to examine the relative contribution of attachment when behaviors from a social learning perspective are also considered. The present study examined the contribution of attachment and behavioral variables to the prediction of clinic referral for oppositional defiant disorder in a sample of preschool boys. We hypothesized that the attachment measures would offer better discrimination of clinic and control group boys at this age. This hypothesis was confirmed when the attachment measures were compared with the parent-child behaviors most strongly associated with social learning conceptualizations of disruptive problems (maternal commands and criticism, and child noncompliance), but rejected in a more stringent test in which the attachment measures were compared with the behavioral variables distinguishing the groups in this particular sample. Manuscript received in final form June 8, 1994.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthew L. Speltz
    • 1
  • Michelle De Klyen
    • 1
  • Mark T. Greenberg
    • 2
  • Marilyn Dryden
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral SciencesUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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