1. Education
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Attachment Styles

By

7 of 7

Disorganized Attachment
Disorganized attachment

Disorganized Attachment

Image: Kendra Cherry

Characteristics of Disorganized Attachment

Children with a disorganized-insecure attachment style show a lack of clear attachment behavior. Their actions and responses to caregivers are often a mix of behaviors, including avoidance or resistance. These children are described as displaying dazed behavior, sometimes seeming either confused or apprehensive in the presence of a caregiver.

Main and Solomon (1986) proposed that inconsistent behavior on the part of parents might be a contributing factor in this style of attachment. In later research, Main and Hesse (1990) argued that parents who act as figures of both fear and reassurance to a child contribute to a disorganized attachment style. Because the child feels both comforted and frightened by the parent, confusion results.

References

Ainsworth, M.; Blehar, M.; Waters, E.; and Wall, S. (1978). Patterns of attachment. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

Bowlby, J. (1969/1982). Attachment and Loss, Vol. 1: Attachment. New York: Basic Books.

Bowlby, J. (1979). The Making and Breaking of Affectional Bonds. London: Tavistock.

Bowlby, J. (1988). A Secure Base. New York: Basic Books.

Feeney, J. A.; Noller, P.; and Patty, J. (1993). Adolescents' interactions with the opposite sex: Influence of attachment style and gender. Journal of Adolescence 16, 169–186.

Hazen, C. & Shaver, P. (1987). Romantic love conceptualized as an attachment process. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 52, 511-524.

Main, M. & Cassidy, J. (1988) "Categories of response to reunion with the parent at age 6: predictable from infant attachment classifications and stable over a 1-month period. Developmental Psychology 24, 415-426.

Main, M., & Hesse, E. (1990). Parents' unresolved traumatic experiences are related to infant disorganized attachment status: Is frightened/frightening parental behavior the linking mechanism? In M. T. Greenberg, D. Cicchetti, & E. M. Cummings (Eds.), Attachment in the Preschool Years: Theory, Research, and Intervention, 161-182. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Main, M., & Solomon, J. (1986). Discovery of an insecure-disorganized/ disoriented attachment pattern: Procedures, findings and implications for the classification of behavior. In T. B. Brazelton & M. Yogman (Eds.), Affective Development in Infancy, 95-124. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.

Mccarthy, G. (1999) Attachment style and adult love relationships and friendships: A study of a group of women at risk of experiencing relationship difficulties. British Journal of Medical Psychology, Volume 72, Number 3, September 1999, pp. 305-321(17).

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.