Quality of attachment relationships is believed to be an important early indicator of infant mental health as it is considered a vital component of social and emotional development in the early years. As a result, there has been a growing call for the development of early intervention attachment research programs. In this brief overview, we summarize what we consider to be the state-of-the-art of intervention programs targeted to increase the prevalence of secure attachment and to reduce the level of disorganized attachment among infants with a wide range of psychological risks.
The themes in the literature covered by the article are as follows: recent results of the main preventive parent–young child interaction interventions to promote optimal attachment; recent metaanalysis on efficiency of these early attachment-based programs; intermediate variables on intervention effects; and benefits of specific therapeutic approaches focused on maternal psychopathology. Globally, early attachment-informed interventions show positive effects, both for mothers and infants.
Our revision stresses the importance of formally assessing the underlying mechanisms of change within interventions in research programs to open the path to improve and target these preventive approaches and consequently promote optimal attachment.
aUniversité Paris Descartes, Université de Paris, LPPS (EA4057)
bDépartement de Psychiatrie Infanto-Juvénile, Hôpital Universitaire Pitié Salpetrière, APHP
cHôpital Bichat-Claude Bernard, Université Paris Denis Diderot, Université de Paris, CESP Inserm (U 1178) and LPPS (EA 4057), Paris, France
Correspondence to Pr Susana Tereno, PhD, Institut de Psychologie (Bureau 4094), LPPS-EA4057, Université Paris Descartes, 71 Avenue Édouard Vaillant, 92 100 Boulogne-Billancourt, France. Tel: +33 1 55 20 58 87; e-mail: email@example.com