Intervening with Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-Up to decrease disrupted parenting behavior and attachment disorganization: The role of parental withdrawal

Heather A. Yarger, Elisa Bronfman, Elizabeth Carlson, Mary Dozier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


This randomized controlled trial investigated the efficacy of Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up (ABC; Dozier, Bick, & Bernard, 2011) in reducing disrupted parenting behavior (affective communication errors, role/boundary confusion, fearful/disoriented, intrusive/negativity, and withdrawal) and its association with disorganized attachment. Participants were 105 mother-child dyads randomized to receive either ABC or a control intervention (a 10-session home-visiting intervention focused on improving children's cognitive abilities, gross and fine motor abilities, and language development). At the time of study enrollment, mothers were approximately 26.7 years old (SD = 7.8) and predominantly Black or African American (73.9%). At the first follow-up visit, children were approximately 20.7 months old (SD = 6.3) and most were identified as Black or African American (61.9%). Fifty-two percent of children were male (n = 55). Assessments of disrupted parenting behavior and child attachment quality were assessed approximately 7 months postintervention (SD = 5.8). A one-way analysis of variance revealed that parents who received ABC demonstrated lower levels of parental withdrawal than parents who received the control condition. A structural equation model revealed a significant indirect effect of intervention group on attachment quality through lower levels of parental withdrawal. Results add to the efficacy of the ABC intervention and identified parental withdrawal as a mediator of change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1139-1148
Number of pages10
JournalDevelopment and psychopathology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
the research, and also gratefully acknowledge the support of child protection agencies. We also thank the doctoral committee (Tania Roth, Roger Kobak, Jean-Philippe Laurenceau, and Sheri Madigan), who provided constructive feedback on this project.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2019.

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • attachment
  • disrupted parenting behavior
  • intervention
  • parenting
  • withdrawal

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

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