Attachment status in children prenatally exposed to cocaine and other substances

Ronald Seifer, Linda L. LaGasse, Barry Lester, Charles R. Bauer, Seetha Shankaran, Henrietta S. Bada, Linda L. Wright, Vincent L. Smeriglio, Jing Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Attachment status of children exposed in utero to cocaine, opiates, and other substances was examined at 18 months (n = 860) and 36 months (n = 732) corrected age. Children exposed to cocaine and opiates had slightly lower rates of attachment security (but not disorganization), and their insecurity was skewed toward ambivalent, rather than avoidant, strategies. Continued postnatal alcohol use was associated with higher rates of insecurity and disorganization at 18, but not 36, months of age. Stability of attachment across the 18-month period was barely above chance expectation. Attachment status at 18 months was associated with child temperament and caregiver-child interaction; at 36 months, attachment was associated with child temperament, child behavior problems, and caregivers' parenting self-esteem.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)850-868
Number of pages19
JournalChild Development
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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