Attachment and emotional development in institutional care: characteristics and catch up

Marian J. Bakermans-Kranenburg, Howard Steele, Charles H. Zeanah, Rifkat J. Muhamedrahimov, Panayiota Vorria, Natasha A. Dobrova-Krol, Miriam Steele, Marinus H. Van Ijzendoorn, Femmie Juffer, Megan R. Gunnar

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature review

94 Scopus citations


Attachment has been assessed in the extreme environment of orphanages, but an important issue to be addressed in this chapter is whether in addition to standard assessment procedures, such as the Strange Situation, the lack of a specific attachment in some institutionalized children should be taken into account given the limits to the development of stable relationships in institutionalized care. In addition, this chapter discusses disinhibited or indiscriminately friendly behavior that is often seen in institutionalized children. Enhanced caregiving quality alone appears to be insufficient to diminish indiscriminate behavior, at least in some children, as evidenced by the persistence of indiscriminate behavior in children adopted out of institutions into adoptive families. We suggest that the etiology and function of indiscriminate, “friendly” behavior may be different for institutionalized versus not-institutionalized children. In the first case it may reflect a distortion or disruption of early attachment
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-91
JournalMonographs of the Society for Research in Child Development
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2011


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