Attachment and Social-Emotional Functioning in Emotionally Disturbed Youth in a Residential Treatment Center/Therapeutic Day Program Setting

Julia B Garrett, Pace University


The purpose of this study was to examine attachment and social-emotional functioning in Emotionally Disturbed youth at a residential treatment center (RTC) and therapeutic day program (TDP). Fifty-nine children and adolescents from a New York RTC/TDP participated in this study. As there is debate on whether researchers should use discrete or continuous measures of attachment, the current study employed both a categorical and continuous measure of attachment in order to gather information on the child/adolescent's perception of their attachment style. Results indicate a significant correlation between self-esteem and the three subscales of the ASCQ. More specifically, there was a positive correlation between secure scores and self-esteem and a negative correlation between anxious/ambivalent scores and avoidant scores and self-esteem. In addition, there was a significant effect of attachment, as measured by the categorical measure, on self-esteem. In examining attachment and self-control, there was not a significant effect of attachment on self-control using the categorical measure of attachment, nor was there a significant correlation between self-control on the secure and avoidant scales of the continuous measure of attachment. However, a positive correlation was found between the anxious/ambivalent scores and self-control. Significant differences in three domains of therapeutic functioning (Assaultiveness, Need for Supervision, and Distractibility) as a function of attachment were also found. In examining residential status and attachment, no significant differences were found using either the continuous or categorical measure of attachment. In addition to the prior research on attachment and therapeutic functioning, results of this study should be considered when caring for children and adolescents. Furthermore, this research is useful in informing preventative services and treatment for insecure attachment, as well as in educating child-care policies.

Subject Area

Clinical psychology

Recommended Citation

Garrett, Julia B, "Attachment and Social-Emotional Functioning in Emotionally Disturbed Youth in a Residential Treatment Center/Therapeutic Day Program Setting" (2011). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI3467376.



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