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01.06.2016 | review | Ausgabe 2/2016 Open Access

neuropsychiatrie 2/2016

An attachment research perspective on ADHD

neuropsychiatrie > Ausgabe 2/2016
PhD Ruediger Kissgen, PhD Sebastian Franke


Since the beginning of clinical attachment research in the mid-1980s the number of research projects in this area has been continuously increasing. The research questions so far can be allocated to numerous medical disciplines such as psychosomatic medicine, adult psychiatry or child and adolescent psychiatry. Recently, children with ADHD and their families have also become subjects of this branch of research. Their specific behavioral characteristics from early childhood on constitute unique challenges on the parent-child interaction. If these interactions develop in a suboptimal way, children may develop an insecure or even a disorganized attachment quality. The latter represents a risk factor for a clinically significant psychopathological development.
This article initially presents basic principles of attachment theory and discusses the relevance of the cardinal symptoms of ADHD for clinical attachment research. Subsequently, it outlines and discusses the main results of existing research regarding attachment and ADHD. It concludes with a perspective on research questions that need to be addressed in the future with regard to a transgenerational model that highlights the importance of parental attachment representations to the development of children’s attachment quality.

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