Attachment disorders refers to disturbed and developmentally inappropriate behaviors in children, emerging before five years of age, in which the child is unable or unwilling to form normal attachment relationships with care giving adults. This results in two different disorders. Reactive attachment disorder describes children who are inhibited and emotionally withdrawn and unable to form attachment with caregivers. Distinguished social engagement disorder describes children who inappropriately approach all strangers, behaving as if they had always had strong loving relationships with them.
1. Child seeks out a caregiver for protection.
2. Child seeks out caregiver’s support and nurturance.
3. Inappropriately intimate behavior with an adult figure immediately accompanying them.
The seriously maladaptive patterns are due to inadequate or abusive child rearing practice. In many cases these inadequate child- rearing practice might be caused by frequent changes in the primary caregiver because of multiple foster care placements, or possibly just neglect in the home. In either case the result is a failure to meet the child's basic emotional needs for affection, comfort or even providing for the basic necessities of daily living. As such these disorders are considered to be pathological reaction to early extreme stress.
David H. Barlow, BOSTON UNIVERSITY
V. Mark Durand, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA- ST. PETERSBERG
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