Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford

Disorganized Attachment and Reactive Attachment Disorder

  • Tommie ForslundEmail author
  • Pehr Granqvist
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_1962-1


Disorganized-disoriented attachment denotes an insecure category of attachment characterized by an inability to maintain an organized strategy of behavior in relation to the caregiver following activation of the attachment system. Disorganization is thought to stem from an unsolvable approach-avoidance conflict of simultaneously being motivated to approach the caregiver for comfort and being alarmed by the caregiver, a phenomenon termed “fright without solution.” Disorganized attachment has been predicted by abuse and maltreatment and by frightening/frightened behaviors and hostile/helpless states of mind on behalf of the caregiver. Disorganization is behaviorally shown in a variety of fearful, odd, and inexplicable behaviors in relation to the caregiver, including simultaneous or sequential contradictory behavior, freezing and stilling, and direct signs of fear and apprehension of the caregiver. Reactive attachment disorder (RAD) denotes a very rare phenomenon whereby...

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© Springer International Publishing AG 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Uppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden
  2. 2.Stockholm UniversityStockholmSweden