Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) and Disinhibited Social Engagement Disorder (DSED) Symptomatology in a High-Risk Clinical Sample

Maria G. Kroupina, N. G. Rowena, Claire Dahl, Ann Jaqueline Nakitende, Kathryn C. Elison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Attachment relationships are broadly considered foundational to child development as such attachment disorders, reactive attachment disorder (RAD) and disinhibited social engagement disorder (DSED), pose a severe threat to children’s safety and developmental trajectory. This study examined the prevalence of full diagnosis and symptoms of RAD and DSED in a high-risk sample of adopted children (n = 98; mean age: 46.26 months; range: 16.09 months-6.51 years). Consistent with existing literature, a full diagnosis of RAD and DSED was rare, 1% (n = 1) and 8.1% (n = 8), respectively. However, over half of the sample presented with at least one clinically concerning symptom of RAD or DSED. Given the nature of attachment disorders and the level of concern associated with symptoms, these findings emphasize the need for effective mental health screening, sensitivity beyond just a full diagnosis, and early interventions for adopted children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)760-768
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Pediatrics
Volume62
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2022.

Keywords

  • adoption
  • attachment disorders
  • disinhibited social engagement disorder
  • mental health screening
  • reactive attachment disorder

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