Attachment in children with autism spectrum disorder: A systematic review

Samantha J. Teague, Kylie M. Gray, Bruce J. Tonge, Louise K. Newman

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This paper aims to synthesise the literature on attachment in children with Auti sm Spectrum Disorder (ASD). highlighting gaps in current research and applications for clinical practice. The research databases PsyclNFO. Ovid Medline. and the Cochrane Library were searched for the terms "autism" and attachment''. Forty papers investigating attachment in children with ASD were identified and narratively reviewed. Seven samples were identified that reported attachment classifications using the Strange Situation Paradigm, with an average of 47% of children with ASD classified as secure (n= 186). With research to date concluding that children with ASD can form secure attachments, studies are now looking at risk and protective factors in the development of attachment, correlates of attachment, attachment di sorders in children with ASD, and attachment-based interventions for children with ASD. Many of these studies are preliminary investigations with con tradictory findings reported, hig hlighting important directions for fu ture research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-50
Number of pages16
JournalResearch in Autism Spectrum Disorders
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Autism
  • attachment
  • systematic review
  • parenting
  • Child

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