Efficacy of the 20-week circle of security intervention: Changes in caregiver reflective functioning, representations, and child attachment in an Australian clinical sample

Anna Huber, Catherine A. McMahon*, Naomi Sweller

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    43 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Circle of Security is an attachment theory based intervention that aims to promote secure parent-child attachment relationships. Despite extensive uptake of the approach, there is limited empirical evidence regarding efficacy. The current study examined whether participation in the 20-week Circle of Security intervention resulted in positive caregiver-child relationship change in four domains: caregiver reflective functioning; caregiver representations of the child and the relationship with the child; child attachment security, and attachment disorganization. Archived pre- and postintervention data were analyzed from 83 clinically referred caregiver-child dyads (child age: 13-88 months) who completed the Circle of Security intervention in sequential cohorts and gave permission for their data to be included in the study. Caregivers completed the Circle of Security Interview, and dyads were filmed in the Strange Situation Procedure before and after the intervention. Results supported all four hypotheses: Caregiver reflective functioning, caregiving representations, and level of child attachment security increased after the intervention, and level of attachment disorganization decreased for those with high baseline levels. Those whose scores were least optimal prior to intervention showed the greatest change in all domains. This study adds to the evidence suggesting that the 20-week Circle of Security intervention results in significant relationship improvements for caregivers and their children.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)556-574
    Number of pages19
    JournalInfant Mental Health Journal
    Volume36
    Issue number6
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2015

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