Commentary on Guild et al. (2020): the importance of well-designed intervention studies for advancing attachment theory and its clinical applications

Catherine A. McMahon*, Anne-Marie Maxwell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/opinion

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Guild and colleagues (this issue) report results of a long-term follow up after a randomized trial of the effectiveness of an attachment-theory-informed psychotherapeutic intervention for mothers with depression and their toddlers. Their paper shows the intervention can increase the likelihood of secure attachment in children of depressed mothers and that secure attachment explains more optimal social-emotional functioning in middle childhood in the treated group. This commentary discusses the contribution of the paper by Guild and colleagues and their broader body of work to our evolving understanding of developmental processes underpinning social-emotional competence in children of depressed parents, and to several ongoing controversies in the field: 1) the relevance of attachment-theory-informed interventions in the context of maternal depression; 2) the evidence gap regarding the efficacy and effectiveness of attachment-theory-informed interventions, particularly with respect to sustained benefits; 3) cost-benefits of early interventions; and 4) the need for theory driven research that explains how and under what circumstances attachment is related to later child outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)583-589
Number of pages7
JournalResearch on Child and Adolescent Psychopathology
Volume49
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.

Copyright:
Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • maternal depression
  • attachment security
  • child parent psychotherapy
  • maternal warmth
  • child behavior problems

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