The Contribution of Attachment Patterns to Symptoms of Psychiatric Disorders in Childhood
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- Institutt for psykologi 
Attachment theory considers organized insecure and disorganized attachment to be risk factors for maladjustment and psychiatric disorder. Prior research has shown attachment to be moderately correlated with symptoms of emotional and behavioral disorders, yet has been inconclusive regarding the contribution of attachment status to changes in symptom levels, as most previous studies have been correlational or crosssectional. In the present inquiry I investigate the influence of attachment status on future symptoms of disorders in a large-scale longitudinal study of a Norwegian population sample consisting of 1,042 children aged 4-10 years, while adjusting for initial symptoms. Attachment was measured at ages 4 and 6 using the Manchester Child Attachment Story Task. Symptoms were measured using the Preschool Age Psychiatric Assessment at ages 4 and 6 and the Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Assessment at ages 8 and 10. Results revealed weak correlations between symptoms and attachment. These correlations vanished after adjusting for initial symptom levels. Possible reasons for these weak or null findings are discussed, and suggestions for future research are given.