Types of attachment

Approximately 15% of infants in low psychosocial risk and as many as 82% of those in high-risk situations do not use any of the three organized strategies for dealing with stress and negative emotion (9). These children have disorganized attachment. One recently identified pathway to children’s disorganized attachment includes children’s exposure to specific forms of distorted parenting and unusual caregiver behaviours that are ‘atypical’ (10,11). Atypical caregiver behaviours, also referred to as “frightening, frightened, dissociated, sexualized or otherwise atypical” (10), are aberrant behaviours displayed by caregivers during interactions with their children that are not limited to when the child is distressed. There is evidence to suggest that caregivers who display atypical behaviours often have a history of unresolved mourning or unresolved emotional, physical or sexual trauma, or are otherwise traumatized (eg, post-traumatic stress disorder or the traumatized victim of domestic violence) (12).


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