For any child’s development, attachment with a caring caregiver is of key importance. The quality of this attachment from very early in a child’s life affects his future relationships and social success. Where this attachment with a responsible caregiver is missing, the child develops the condition referred to as reactive attachment disorder (RAD). As a result, the child may have problems associating with other people as he grows up. This may cause problems in the child’s social development or even his overall development. This paper reviews four studies, to study various aspects of reactive attachment disorder.
This paper reviewed information and studies on behavior diagnosis and interventions employed in dealing with children with RAD. The study was aimed at proving whether it is true or false that children with reactive attachment disorder had problems interacting with others and forming relations. This study was started with a review of the recorded literature related to RAD and early childhood. The review of the literature was conducted in four methods: search, inclusion criteria, relevance, and article analysis sheet. Most of the literature reviewed focused on the connection between poor attachment and pathological care. This is what can be used in identifying children diagnosed with reactive attachment disorder. The study investigated the following aspects as available in the literature on RAD: comorbidity; differential diagnosis; and deficiency of Consistent Attachment Protocol. The results from the studies indicated various characteristics in children with reactive attachment disorder. They were discovered to have distinct challenges when beginning school. It was found put that children with reactive attachment disorder present various behavioral, psychological and academic problems and deficiencies. Most of the literature reviewed seemed to concur on the fact that children with reactive attachment disorder tend to reveal more teacher-attention seeking characteristics, depending upon the teacher, proximity-seeking characteristics and emotional dependence. It was also discovered that children with reactive attachment disorder tends to be more aggressive, antisocial and more likely to hurt others. This is basically a revelation of poor social capability (Floyd et al, 2008).
This study was aimed at establishing whether there is a difference in behavior and personality of children with reactive attachment disorder and those without. This study was carried out by use of information obtained from children as well as their caregivers. The participants were children with reactive attachment disorder and those without, and the caregivers of the two groups. The caregivers were meant to supply information regarding the behavior and personality of their children. The information was gauged using Reactive Attachment Disorder Scale that was developed by the researchers for this particular research. Other measuring instruments that were employed included: Child Behavior Checklist, the Junior Monitoring Scale and the Index for Empathy for Children and Adolescents. The children were put in the two categories based on the results of a pathologist. There were questionnaires to be filled by the parents, and those to be filled by the children. From the study, it was discovered that children with reactive attachment disorder tended to exhibit a considerable difference in behavioral characteristics from those without. The study revealed the fact that the children with RAD has general behavioral challenges, social challenges, antisocial behavior, somatic grievances, nervousness/depression, thought challenges, attention-seeking behavior, and aggression. There was also a difference in the two groups in empathy and self-monitoring. The children with reactive social disorder were rated high in self-monitoring and low in empathy than those without reactive attachment disorder. The study revealed the fact that the children with reactive attachment disorder revealed aspects of aggression and unfavorable behavior and personality than their counterparts (Hall & Glenn, 2003).
This study was aimed at investigating the innate working model of children and adolescents with RAD. From the study it would be proved whether there is unique innate working model in children and adolescents with RAD. This study was carried out using early recollections. This was due to the idea that what is remembered reflects what is currently believed. In this study early recollections of children and adolescents with reactive attachment disorder were listed and evaluated for thematic substance. The recollections were collected by a medical student working as a therapist in outpatient. A script written by Clark (2000) was employed to elicit the recollections. This was included in the script: “Think back to a long time ago when you were little, and try to recall one of your earliest memories, one of the first things you can remember” (Tobin, Wardi-Zonna & Yezzi-Shareef, 2007, p. 89). The participants were supposed to give three different recollections. The study used standard prompts to help the participants in recalling. The information was recorded in audio tape and then transcribed. All the participants had RAD and were at the time receiving outpatient therapy. From the three basic recollections that were gathered, the results were comparable. The first one was on the view of the self. Many of the participants saw themselves as being isolated, alone or in problem. On the view of others, most of them saw others as being not present, abandoning, unsympathetic or punishing. On the view of the events, many of the participants regarded them as unjust, overwhelming and confusing. The study revealed an aspect of unmet emotional needs (Tobin, Wardi-Zonna & Yezzi-Shareef, 2007).
This study was aimed at establishing whether there is a relationship between pathological care and reactive attachment disorder. The characteristics of reactive attachment disorder that were evaluated included social relations, communication, development in verbal communication, and stereotypical characteristics. In the study, 15 children with reactive attachment disorder were evaluated. Their mothers and fathers were also evaluated in the study. The study used a semi-structured interview sheet that had 75 entries. The initial past of the interview was aimed at analyzing “family history, pregnancy period, emotional, social, motor and language development, behavioral problems of the patients, quality of care given to the patients from birth to the referral time and pathological care, abuse, neglect and other environmental factors” (Mukaddes, Bilge, Alyanak & Kora, 2000, p. 276-277). The second section of the interview was aimed at evaluating current psychiatric characteristics. The initial part involved the primary caregiver and the child, and the second one had the participation of the secondary caregiver. The results from this study revealed challenges in establishing a dyadic bond between the primary caregiver and the child from the early stages of life. In reactive attachment disorder, this was identified as a key etiological factor. It was identified that many maternal factors have a key role in reactive attachment disorder. Maternal depression is one of the factors that hinder the parent from forming the important bond with the child. In this state the mother is not in a position to react to the needs of the child. It was discovered that children with depressed mothers tend to reveal less emotional expression, more irritability and withdrawal (Mukaddes, Bilge, Alyanak & Kora, 2000).
From the four studies it is clear that children with reactive attachment disorder tend to exhibit unique social characteristics than children without RAD. As a result of suffering from lack of quality attachment with the primary caregiver, these children tend to be attention-seekers than their counterparts. In school they show characteristics lime teacher-attention seeking characteristics, depending upon the teacher, proximity-seeking characteristics and emotional dependence. The children tend to have behavioral challenges, social challenges, antisocial behavior, somatic grievances, nervousness/depression, thought challenges, attention-seeking behavior, and aggression. These are all characteristics of reactive attachment disorder.
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Tobin, D., Wardi-Zonna, K. & Yezzi-Shareef, A. (2007). “Early Recollections of Children and
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