Residential childcare workers’ knowledge of reactive attachment disord

Ferguson, L., Follan, M., Macinnes, M. and Minnis, H. (2010) Residential childcare workers’ knowledge of reactive attachment disord. Child and Adolescent Mental Health, 16(2), pp. 101-109. (doi:10.1111/j.1475-3588.2010.00575.x)

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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-3588.2010.00575.x

Abstract

Background: Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) is associated with a history of 'pathogenic care' therefore residential childcare workers are likely to come into contact with children with this disorder. An 'appropriately supportive environment' may be a mitigating factor in terms of the disorder's severity and duration (Corbin, 2007); therefore it is important that behaviours suggestive of RAD are recognised early and that these children are given the attention they require in the care setting. We aimed to gain an understanding of residential childcare workers' knowledge of RAD to determine if their understanding of RAD was sufficient to recognise RAD-like behaviour. Method: A mixed methods study (qualitative focus groups and whole population survey) was undertaken with residential childcare workers. Results: Liaison with Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services was seen by residential workers as being useful and workers thought their knowledge of mental health problems had improved in recent years. However, less than half of respondents (49.1%) identified RAD from a case history given in the questionnaire. Conclusions: Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services staff and residential workers may need more specialised training on RAD to be able to recognise behaviours suggestive of the disorder and refer appropriately, ensuring the child's needs are met as early as possible. Key Practitioner Message: Residential care workers are likely to come into contact with Reactive Attachment Disorder in their work Residential care workers view a consultative relationship with Child and Adolescent Mental Health service workers as highly supportive Although these residential workers had a good understanding of attachment theory and were also familiar with some of the symptoms of RAD, less than half of the sample recognised these symptoms as belonging to that diagnostic category It is important that children with RAD are recognised and referred to CAMHS, despite there being a poor evidence-base for treatment, because a full understanding of their complex problems is likely to lead to better management

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Follan, Dr Michael and Minnis, Professor Helen
Authors: Ferguson, L., Follan, M., Macinnes, M., and Minnis, H.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > Mental Health and Wellbeing
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing
Journal Name:Child and Adolescent Mental Health
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN:1475-357X
ISSN (Online):1475-3588
Published Online:23 August 2010

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