Links Between Disorganized Attachment Classification and Clinical Symptoms in School-Aged Children

Academic Article


  • Research examining the links between disorganized attachment and clinical symptoms largely has neglected middle childhood due to lack of available measurement tools. The few studies that have examined these links in other developmental phases have found higher clinical symptoms in disorganized individuals. Our study extended this research by using a recently-developed attachment interview measure ideally suited to evaluate disorganized attachment in middle childhood. We examined concurrent associations among disorganized attachment in 8-12 year old children and symptoms of psychopathology theoretically hypothesized for their links with disorganized attachment. Using child- and parent-reports, we measured symptoms of depression, social anxiety, shyness, inattention, and thought problems. During our two-session study, 97 children completed the Child Attachment Interview, and children and parents completed clinical questionnaires. Results suggested that disorganized attachment was associated with higher child reports of depressive symptoms and shyness, and with parent-reports of social anxiety, inattention, and thought problems, and that disorganized children are more likely to have symptoms that meet clinical criteria. Implications for the relation of attachment to psychopathology are discussed. © 2009 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Borelli JL; David DH; Crowley MJ; Mayes LC
  • Start Page

  • 243
  • End Page

  • 256
  • Volume

  • 19
  • Issue

  • 3