Disorganized attachment in infancy: a review of the phenomenon and its implications for clinicians and policy-makers.

Journal article
(Original article)

Publication Details

Author(s): Granqvist P, Sroufe LA, Dozier M, Hesse E, Steele M, Van Ijzendoorn M, Solomon J, Schuengel C, Fearon P, Bakermans-Kranenburg M, Steele H, Cassidy J, Carlson E, Madigan S, Jacobvitz D, Foster S, Behrens K, Rifkin-Graboi A, Gribneau N, Spangler G, Ward MJ, True M, Spieker S, Reijman S, Reisz S, Tharner A, Nkara F, Goldwyn R, Sroufe J, Pederson D, Pederson D, Weigand R, Siegel D, Dazzi N, Bernard K, Fonagy P, Waters E, Toth S, Cicchetti D, Zeanah CH, Lyons-Ruth K, Main M, Duschinsky R
Journal: Attachment & human development
Publication year: 2017
Volume: 19
Journal issue: 6
Pages range: 534-558
ISSN: 1469-2988
Language: English


Disorganized/Disoriented (D) attachment has seen widespread interest from policy makers, practitioners, and clinicians in recent years. However, some of this interest seems to have been based on some false assumptions that (1) attachment measures can be used as definitive assessments of the individual in forensic/child protection settings and that disorganized attachment (2) reliably indicates child maltreatment, (3) is a strong predictor of pathology, and (4) represents a fixed or static "trait" of the child, impervious to development or help. This paper summarizes the evidence showing that these four assumptions are false and misleading. The paper reviews what is known about disorganized infant attachment and clarifies the implications of the classification for clinical and welfare practice with children. In particular, the difference between disorganized attachment and attachment disorder is examined, and a strong case is made for the value of attachment theory for supportive work with families and for the development and evaluation of evidence-based caregiving interventions.

FAU Authors / FAU Editors

Spangler, Gottfried Prof. Dr. Dr.
Lehrstuhl für Entwicklungspsychologie und Pädagogische Psychologie

External institutions with authors

Arizona State University (ASU)
Cornell University
Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) / Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam
Harvard University
Leiden University
Minnesota Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis
Northumbria University
Saint Mary's College of California
Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences (SICS)
State University of New York (SUNY)
Stockholm University / Stockholms universitet
SUNY Polytechnic Institute
The New School
Trafford Council
Tulane University
Università degli studi "La Sapienza"
University College London (UCL)
University of Calgary
University of California, Berkeley
University of California Los Angeles (UCLA)
University of Cambridge
University of Delaware (UDEL)
University of Maryland
University of Minnesota (UMN)
University of Rochester (UR)
University of Texas at Austin
University of Washington
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU) / University Amsterdam
Western University

How to cite

Granqvist, P., Sroufe, L.A., Dozier, M., Hesse, E., Steele, M., Van Ijzendoorn, M.,... Duschinsky, R. (2017). Disorganized attachment in infancy: a review of the phenomenon and its implications for clinicians and policy-makers. Attachment & human development, 19(6), 534-558. https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14616734.2017.1354040

Granqvist, Pehr, et al. "Disorganized attachment in infancy: a review of the phenomenon and its implications for clinicians and policy-makers." Attachment & human development 19.6 (2017): 534-558.


Last updated on 2018-10-08 at 21:56