The efficacy of Toddler-Parent Psychotherapy to increase attachment security in off-spring of depressed mothers

Dante Cicchetti, Sheree L. Toth, Fred A. Rogosch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

155 Scopus citations


The efficacy of toddler-parent psychotherapy (TPP) as a preventive intervention for promoting secure attachment in the offspring of depressed mothers was evaluated, 63 mothers with major depressive disorder being randomly assigned to TPP (n = 27) or to a no treatment group (n = 36) and compared with a control group (n = 45) of women with no current or past mental disorder. At baseline, comparable and higher rates of attachment insecurity were found in the two depressed offspring groups as compared with the non-depressed control group. At the post-treatment follow-up, offspring in the intervention group attained rates of secure attachment that were comparable with those of youngsters in the non-depressed control group. In contrast, the children in the depressed control group continued to demonstrate a greater rate of attachment insecurity than children in the non-depressed control group. The findings support the efficacy of an attachment-theory based model of intervention for fostering developmental competence in the offspring of depressed mothers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34-66
Number of pages33
JournalAttachment and Human Development
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 1999
Externally publishedYes



  • Attachment
  • Intervention efficacy
  • Maternal depressive disorder
  • Parent psychotherapy
  • Prevention
  • Toddler

Cite this