Child Psychiatry and Human Development

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 64–71 | Cite as

Use of the strange-situation procedure in the diagnosis of attachment disorder

  • Mary J. O'Connor
  • Ann S. Masten
Articles

Abstract

This study demonstrates the usefulness of developmental theory and research in understanding psychopathological development. It is a case history of a genetically vulnerable 2 1/2 year old child who experienced a major disruption in the attachment process as a function of precipitous and permanent separation from a positive attachment figure and placement in a home in which the new attachment figure was unresponsive to the child. The child's behavior and growth deteriorated requiring her to be hospitalized. Upon admission, she appeared functionally retarded and severely emotionally disturbed. A diagnosis of attachment disorder of infancy was made based upon history, response to treatment, and the use of the strange-situation procedure.

Keywords

Social Psychology Case History Major Disruption Developmental Theory Attachment Figure 

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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mary J. O'Connor
    • 1
  • Ann S. Masten
    • 2
  1. 1.University of California at Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.University of MinnesotaUSA

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