Reactive Attachment Disorder
Attachment behavior; Emotionally withdrawn/inhibited; Selective attachment
Short Description or Definition
Reactive attachment disorder is defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5thed.; DSM-5; American Psychiatric Association, 2013) by a pattern of child attachment behavior toward adult caregivers that is inhibited or emotionally withdrawn. Children with this pattern of behavior rarely or minimally seek or respond to comfort when distressed. They may be limited in their emotional responsiveness to others and have limited positive affect and/or episodes of emotional distress in nonthreatening situations (e.g., irritability, sadness, or fearfulness). Children with these symptoms have a known history of (1)persistent social neglect or deprivation, (2)frequent changing of individuals in the role of primary caregiver, and/or (3)inconsistent or limited opportunity to form close attachments. To be diagnosed, the pattern of behavior must develop before...
References and Readings
- American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5thed.). Arlington: American Psychiatric Association Publishing.Google Scholar
- Zeanah, C.H., Chesher, T., Boris, N.W., & American Academy of Child. (2016). Practice parameter for the assessment and treatment of children and adolescents with reactive attachment disorder and disinhibited social engagement disorder. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 55(11), 990–1003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar