Reactive Attachment Disorder

Topics: Attachment theory, John Bowlby, Family therapy Pages: 12 (4022 words) Published: April 8, 2012
A Research on Reactive Attachment Disorder of Early Childhood Yolanda Ashton
Liberty University

Abstract
This paper explores the psychological disorder known as Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). It will investigate how a child diagnosed with RAD will have an inefficient connection with his or her caregiver during an early age. RAD is considered a serious disorder which affects infant and young children who have difficulties establishing healthy relationship with their caregiver or parents. The flawed relationship will affect the child’s ability to establish normal affiliation with other human being. Thus, a child’s rapport was a major determinant in the etiology of the disorder. The research will briefly discuss the definition, etiology, attachment theory posited by John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth, attachment styles, criteria for diagnosing the disorder, presenting symptoms, risk factors, and treatments.

A Research on Reactive Attachment Disorder of Early Childhood
This paper will discuss and explore the psychological disorder known as Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). It will investigate how a child diagnosed with RAD will have an inefficient connection with his or her caregiver during an early age. The flawed relationship will affect the child’s ability to establish normal affiliation with other human being. The research will briefly discuss the definition, etiology, attachment theory posited by John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth, attachment styles, criteria for diagnosing the disorder, presenting symptoms, risk factors, and treatments.

Reactive attachment disorder is “assumed to be the result of pathological parenting and often associated with developmental delays and childhood neglect” (Corbin, 2007, p. 540). It is considered a serious disorder which affects infant and young children who have difficulties establishing healthy relationship with their caregiver or parents. Thus, a child’s rapport was a major determinant in the etiology of the disorder. This concept was supported when Corbin asserted that, “Attachment theorists agree that attachment security protects psychopathology. Attachment experiences include the complex psychological, biological, genetic, and behavioral facets of the early care-giving environment and concomitant interactive processes” (p. 543).

The two types of RAD is the inhibited and dis-inhibited type (American Psychiatric Association, 2000). The inhibited type described an infant or young child who has “persistent failure to initiate and to respond to most social interactions in a developmentally appropriate way” (APA, p. 128). In contrast, dis-inhibited type described an infant or young child diagnosed with RAD to have “indiscriminate sociability or a lack of selectivity in the choice of attachment figures” (APA, p. 128).

To understand RAD, researchers expounded on attachment theory postulated by Bowlby and Ainsworth. Ainsworth developed Bowlby’s basic principles and with her colleagues categorized attachment into secure and insecure patterns (Wilson, 2001). The secure attachment will entail a healthy relationship of an infant or young child to his or her parents or caregiver. In contrast, the insecure patterns described how an infant or a young child is “less secure about their safety (even in the presence of a caregiver) and unable to derive consistent comfort from their caregiver” (Wilson, 2009, p. 24). Further, insecure patterns were subdivided into avoidant, anxious/ambivalent, and disorganized (Wood, 2005). The lack of empirical research surrounding the disorder will limit mental health professionals in diagnosing and formulating interventions for RAD. Although limited research and studies were published comprising the disorder, there are enough data to support the existence of reactive attachment disorder. Definition of Reactive Attachment Disorder

Reactive Attachment Disorder is a...

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