Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Human Development and Family Studies


Human Development and Family Studies

First Advisor

Diane Horn-Wingerd


Since its inception, Bowlby's attachment theory has guided research in the area of attachment. A body of literature supports the conclusion that when attachment needs are not met in the first year of life, serious deficits and problems can occur. The present study adds to the existing literature by examining attachment in adolescents, an age group not frequently researched. Specifically, this study examines the relationship between attachment and multiple out-of-home placements for adolescent males living in a residential treatment facility.

In order to understand the characteristics of youth living in a residential treatment facility, an archival search was completed to build a profile on the characteristics of male adolescents living in a residential treatment facility. The youth are in treatment for behavior and emotional disorders. The youth's attachment was measured using the Randolph Attachment Disorder Questionnaire (RADQ).

A significant difference was found in the number of out-of-home placements in youth scoring in the severe versus mild or no attachment categories. Another interesting finding was the lack of a difference in the RADQ ratings produced by male and female raters, as the RADQ author had suggested. Although other analyses were conducted, the small sample size (N=28) limits the utility of more sophisticated analyses.

Findings are related to previous research and are highlighted in terms of their possible contributions to developing treatment and interventions for improving the likelihood of later success. Limitations of the study and future research are also discussed.



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