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Quality of attachment and home environments in children prenatally exposed to PCP and cocaine

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 September 2009

Carol Rodning*
Department of Pediatrics, University of California, Los Angeles
Leila Beckwith
Department of Pediatrics, University of California, Los Angeles
Judy Howard
Department of Pediatrics, University of California, Los Angeles
Address reprint requests to: Carol Rodning, Department of Pediatrics, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90024–1797.


Quality of attachment, disorganization in attachment, and the contribution of caregiver interactions in the home were investigated for infants prenatally exposed to PCP and cocaine and their caregivers. The drug-exposed infants were compared with infants of similar ethnicity, socioeconomic status (SES), and living in the same geographical area of the city with non-substance-abusing mothers. The majority of drug-exposed infants were insecurely attached to their caregivers and did not differ in the percentage of security in the three caregiving environments in which the infants were growing up: biologic mother care, kinship care, or foster mother care. The majority of drug-exposed children were disorganized. Change in caregivers during the first year was not found to be related to the rate of insecurity in any of the caregiving environments. The majority of the non-drug-exposed comparison infants were securely attached, and only a small percentage were disorganized. The high incidence of insecurity in the drug-exposed group is discussed in relation to maternal and environmental circumstances that can alter the assumption of security in attachment for the majority of children and caregivers toward insecurity in attachment.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1991

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