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Attachment in the early years
Attachment in the early years

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5.2 Interventions to enhance attachment security

Not surprisingly, given the associations between secure attachment and positive outcomes for children, many initiatives have been taken to seek to enhance parenting, where parents are seen to need outside help, in order to improve attachment security. Given the consensus among many researchers that maternal sensitivity is one of the most important factors influencing attachment, most interventions have focused on this as a target, although the methods used vary widely, and there are several different programmes which have been shown to be effective (Oates, 2010). A meta-analysis of 81 research studies of intervention programmes (Bakermans-Kranenburg et al., 2003) found that the more successful programmes were indeed targeted on sensitivity, that these were effective in enhancing sensitive responding, and, most importantly, that the expected improvements in attachment security also followed. This analysis further found that these gains were not necessarily dependent on long-term work with parents, but that short-term programmes (of 5–16 sessions), where these focus clearly on parental behaviour, can be successful.