Changing toddlers' and preschoolers' attachment classifications: the Circle of Security intervention

J Consult Clin Psychol. 2006 Dec;74(6):1017-26. doi: 10.1037/0022-006X.74.6.1017.


The Circle of Security intervention uses a group treatment modality to provide parent education and psychotherapy that is based on attachment theory. The purpose of this study was to track changes in children's attachment classifications pre- and immediately postintervention. Participants were 65 toddler- or preschooler- caregiver dyads recruited from Head Start and Early Head Start programs. As predicted, there were significant within-subject changes from disorganized to organized attachment classifications, with a majority changing to the secure classification. In addition, only 1 of the 13 preintervention securely attached children shifted to an insecure classification. Results suggest that the Circle of Security protocol is a promising intervention for the reduction of disorganized and insecure attachment in high-risk toddlers and preschoolers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child, Preschool
  • Early Intervention, Educational
  • Education / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Object Attachment*
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Personality Assessment
  • Psychotherapy, Group / methods*
  • Reactive Attachment Disorder / diagnosis
  • Reactive Attachment Disorder / psychology
  • Reactive Attachment Disorder / therapy*
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome