Disorganized/Disoriented Attachment Relationships in Maltreated Infants

Vicki Carlson, Dante Cicchetti, Douglas Barnett, Karen Braunwald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

411 Scopus citations


This study reanalyzed the attachment relationships of a sample of 12-month-old maltreated and nonmaltreated infants using the Main and Solomon (in press) classification system for disorganized/disoriented (Type D) attachments. As predicted, we found a preponderance of disorganized/disoriented attachments in the maltreatment group (82%). In contrast, only 19% of the demographically matched Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) comparison group exhibited such Type D relationships. Furthermore, boys were significantly more likely to be Type D than girls regardless of their maltreatment status. Results are discussed in terms of factors inherent in the maltreating environment that could contribute to the emergence of D relationships. We suggest that the study of the precursors, correlates, and sequelae of attachment in maltreatment samples would make important contributions to the validation of the new D category.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)525-531
Number of pages7
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1989
Externally publishedYes


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