Objective: To explore attachment narratives in children diagnosed with reactive attachment disorder (RAD).
Method: We compared attachment narratives, as measured by the Manchester Child Attachment Story Task, in a group of 33 children with a diagnosis of RAD and 37 comparison children.
Results: The relative risk (RR) for children with RAD having an insecure attachment pattern was 2.4 (1.4–4.2) but 30% were rated as securely attached. Within the RAD group, children with a clear history of maltreatment were more likely to be Insecure-Disorganised than children without a clear history of maltreatment.
Conclusions: Reactive attachment disorder is not the same as attachment insecurity, and questions remain about how attachment research informs clinical research on attachment disorders.