Infant and Childhood Attachment, Attachment Disorders



Type of instruction




Part of degree program


Recommended in

Semester 1-4

Typically offered in

Autumn/Spring semester

Course description

Main topics:

  • Attachment theory: mother-infant relationship in an evolutionary framework
  • Individual differences in the quality of early attachment. Assessment of attachment security in infancy: the Strange Situation Procedure. Secure and insecure attachment relationships. Classification of attachment patterns: A, B, C groups; subgroups. Care-giving background. Stability.
  • Breakdown of attachment strategies: disorganized/disoriented behavior in the Strange Situation. Care-giving background: atypical care-giving behavior.
  • Genetic influences in attachment disorganization, gene-environment interactions.
  • Diagnostic criteria of attachment disorders in childhood. Risk of attachment disorders: adoptive families, maltreated children, maternal psychosocial problems.
  • Belsky, J., Fearon, M. P. (2008). Precursors of attachment security. In: Cassidy, J., Shaver, P. R. (eds.): Handbook of attachment. Theory, research, and clinical applications. Second edition. The Guilford Press, New York/London, pp. 295–316.
  • Lyons-Ruth K, Jacobvitz D. (2008). Disorganized attachment: Genetic factors, parenting contexts, and developmental transformation from infancy to adulthood. In: Cassidy J, Shaver P, editors. Handbook of attachment: Theory, research and clinical applications. Second edition. The Guilford Press, New York/London, pp. 666–697
  • Main, M., & Solomon, J. (1990). Procedures for identifying infants as disorganized/ disoriented during the Ainsworth Strange Situation. In M. T. Greenberg, D. Cicchetti, & E. M. Cummings (Eds.), Attachment in the preschool years: Theory, research, and intervention, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, pp. 121-160.
  • Tóth I. (2011): Az érzelmi-társas kapcsolatok fejlődése: korai gondozás és kötődés. In: Danis I., Farkas M., Herczog M., Szilvási L. (szerk.): A génektől a társadalomig: a koragyermekkori fejlődés színterei. Nemzeti Család- és Szociálpolitikai Intézet, Budapest, 320-372.
  • Zeanah, C. H., Boris, N. W. (2000). Disturbances and disorders of attachment in early childhood. In: Zeanah, C. H.: (ed) Handbook of Infant Mental Health. 2nd edition, The Guildford Press, New York/London, 353-368.