This article reviews research examining the effects of adverse early caregiving on relationships throughout the lifespan. Central attachment constructs are summarized and integrated into a review of research on the long-term effects of institutional rearing and child maltreatment. Findings are interpreted within the organizational perspective on development, which conceptualizes attachment as a stage-salient task of infancy that influences the reorganization of adaptive/maladaptive functioning around subsequent stage-salient tasks. Children who experience adverse early caregiving are more likely to exhibit aberrant attachment behaviors, deficits in social-emotional competencies, and persisting difficulties in social functioning and relationship outcomes. Disorganized attachment behavior stemming from adverse early caregiving has been a major focus of this work. Intervention efforts that target mental representations related to attachment relationships can facilitate improved social functioning. Clinical implications of this work are discussed.
- institutional care
- randomized control trial interventions