Since its introduction into DSM-Ill, reactive attachment disorder has stood curiously apart from other diagnoses for two reasons: it remains the only diagnosis designed for infants, and it requires the presence of a specific etiology. This paper describes the pattern of disturbances demonstrated by some children who meet DSM-Ill-R criteria for reactive attachment disorder. Three suggestions are made: (1) the sensitivity and specificity of the diagnostic concept may be enhanced by including criteria detailing the developmental problems exhibited by these children; (2) the etiological requirement should be discarded given the difficulties inherent in obtaining complete histories for these children, as well as its inconsistency with ICD-10; and (3) the diagnosis arguably is not a disorder of attachment but rather a syndrome of atypical development. J.Am. Acad. Child Adolesc. Psychiatry,1994, 33, 3: 328-332. Key Words: reactive attachment disorder, maltreatment, DSM-Ill-
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