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Attachment representations in children following early institutional deprivation

Martin, Zoe; (2004) Attachment representations in children following early institutional deprivation. Doctoral thesis (D.Clin.Psy), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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It is well documented that early deprivation has a deleterious effect upon children's subsequent ability to form attachment relationships. However, in most studies it has been difficult to differentiate the effects of early experience from continued exposure to risk and thus there is continued debate regarding, the longitudinal course and stability of attachment disturbances following early institutional care. The aim of the present study was to investigate the long-term effects of profound early deprivation on attachment representations and to examine their associations with children's previous attachment disturbances. The participants, 90 children adopted from Romanian institutions between the ages of 0-42 months and a comparison group of 30 non-deprived UK adoptees, were assessed at age 11 years. A narrative approach to assessment was adopted using the Child Attachment Interview. Previous data regarding children's attachment disturbances at age 6 were also available. ANOVA and ANCOVA analyses using planned contrasts indicated a significant association between deprivation and three of the components of attachment; coherence, reflective functioning and atypical behaviours. In addition attachment disturbances at age 6 were correlated with atypical behaviours at age 11. However, after controlling for IQ the observed associations became non-significant and cognitive functioning demonstrated the strongest mediating effect between early adverse care and later development. The discussion focuses on the role of early experiences in the organisation of attachment and its impact on wider social and cognitive functioning. Possible mechanisms underlying observed patterns of attachment are considered in the context of contemporary literature and theoretical perspectives and limitations of the study and the scientific and clinical implications are discussed.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: D.Clin.Psy
Title: Attachment representations in children following early institutional deprivation
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Psychology; Early deprivation
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10099504
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