Enhancing Attachment Organization Among Maltreated Children: Results of a Randomized Clinical Trial




Kristin Bernard, Mary Dozier, Johanna Bick, Erin Lewis-Morrarty, Oliver Lindheim, and Elizabeth Carlson

Brief Type

Journal Publication


  • Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-Up (ABC)


Young children who have experienced early adversity are at risk for developing disorganized attachments. The efficacy of Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up (ABC), an intervention targeting nurturing care among parents identified as being at risk for neglecting their young children, was evaluated through a randomized clinical trial. Attachment quality was assessed in the Strange Situation for 120 children between 11.7 and 31.9 months of age (M= 19.1,SD= 5.5). Children in the ABC intervention showed significantly lower rates of disorganized attachment (32%) and higher rates of secure attachment (52%) relative to the control intervention (57% and 33%, respectively). These results support the efficacy of the ABC intervention in enhancing attachment quality among parents at high risk for maltreatment. (author abstract)

Data Collection Methods

  • Home Visit Observations
  • Parent-child observations
  • Standardized assessment tools



For More Information

Bernard, K., Dozier, M., Bick, J., Lewis‐Morrarty, E., Lindhiem, O., & Carlson, E. (2012). Enhancing attachment organization among maltreated children: Results of a randomized clinical trial. Child Development83(2), 623-636. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2011.01712.x
Author Contact Information:
Kristin Bernard


  • Participant, Family, and Program Outcomes