Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Reactive Attachment Disorder of Infancy or Early Childhood

By Dr. Margot Moser Richters and Dr. Fred R. Volkmar


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-

Topics: Developmental Psychology, Clinical Psychology
Publisher: American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Year: 1994
OAI identifier:

Suggested articles


  1. (1984). A multimodal assessment of behavioral and cognitive deficits in abused and neglected preschoolers.
  2. (1987). Effects of maltreatment on young children's social emotional development: an attachment theory perspective.
  3. (1994). In: Handbook of Infant Mental Health,
  4. (1991). Patterns of relatedness in maltreated and nonmaltreated children: connections among multiple representational models.
  5. (1949). Psychiatric Association American Psychiatric Association (1 987), Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,
  6. (1990). Psychiatric Association World Health Organization

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.