The effectiveness of Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP) and Attachment Biobehavioural Catch up (ABC) for children experiencing early maltreatment or disruptions in care: Literature Review of RCT studies

  • Vasiliki Apeiranthitou
Keywords: Reactive Attachment Disorder, Effective Interventions for children with RAD, Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy, Attachment and Biobehavioural Catch-up


Many children, who have been repeatedly exposed to traumatic experiences and entered into adoption and foster care services, have to be adequately assessed to help families encounter any existing mental health issues. In this respect, Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) is still regarded as a relatively under-researched psychiatric diagnosis for a subgroup of children with the most prominent and detrimental insecure attachments. However, due to limited evidence-based studies, clinical diagnostic standards and treatment approaches are controversial and unclear. Raising awareness and implementing early interventions are indispensable to obtain a deeper insight into these children and improve their chances of success as adults. This literature review was intended to assess the effectiveness of the psychologically-based dyadic caregiver–infant/child interventions, such as the Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP) and the Attachment Biobehavioural Catch-up (ABC) synthesizing prior evidence from Randomised Control Trials (RCTs). According to this review, researchers have been hesitant to confirm the DDP effectiveness, stressing the imperative need for RCTs and further investigation. On the other hand, ABC could be considered an efficacious and evidence-based intervention for children with disorganised attachments. It is hoped that there will be more evidence in the years to come.
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