An attachment theory framework is applied toward understanding the emergence of depressive symptomatology and lower perceived competence in maltreated and nonmaltreated children. Hypotheses that maltreated children with nonoptimal patterns of relatedness evidence elevated depressive symptomatology and lower competence, whereas nonmaltreated children with optimal or adequate patterns of relatedness exhibit the least depressive symptomatology and higher competence, were confirmed. Additionally, differentiations between maltreated children with and without optimal or adequate patterns of relatedness emerged, suggesting that relatedness may mitigate against the adverse effects of maltreatment. Moreover, sexually abused children with confused patterns of relatedness evidenced clinically significant depressive symptomatology. Results are discussed with regard to mechanisms that contribute to adaptation or maladaptation in children with negative caregiving histories.