Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal

, Volume 36, Issue 2, pp 97–100 | Cite as

Ongoing Challenges in Conceptualizing and Treating Reactive Attachment Disorder

  • James W. DriskoEmail author


This response to Mercer’s article explores some additional ways of conceptualizing and treating reactive attachment disorder (RAD). The limitations of the DSM descriptive model are explored and alternate empirically supported models are described. One key limitation is DSM’s one person, medical approach, which fits poorly with issues of attachment that are inherently interpersonal and interactive. Differences by age in the presentation of RAD, and in how it is treated are also addressed. The challenges for parents of children who have RAD are explored, and for clinicians who lack solidly research supported treatments for this disorder.


Reactive attachment disorder RAD Disinhibited social engagement disorder Diagnosis Attachment 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Smith College School for Social WorkNorthamptonUSA

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