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The Time of the Infant, Parent-Infant Desynchronization and Attachment Disorganization, or How Long Does it Take for a Preventive Action to be Effective?


  • Antoine Guedeney

    () (Hospital Bichat-Claude Bernard APHP, Universite Paris)

  • Nicole Guedeney

    (Institut Mutualiste Monsouris)

  • Susana Tereno

    (Institut Mutualiste Monsouris)

  • Romain Dugravier

    (Hospital Bichat-Claude Bernard APHP, Universite Paris)

  • Tim Greacen

    (Hospital Maison Blanche)

  • Bertrand Welniarz

    (Hospital Perray-Vaucluse)

  • Thomas Saias

    (Hospital Maison Blanche)

  • CAPEDEP Study Group


The classical version of early development by psychoanalysis has been largely challenged by developmental psychology, and particularly by attachment theory. Psychopathology appears to be much more linked with a sequence of events involving interpersonal relationship disorders rather than with intra psychic conflicts, as hypothesised by drive theory. Establishing synchrony between parent and infant is probably one of the major tasks of the first year of life. Attachment theory appears to be the modern paradigm to understand how the several types of answers from caregivers to stressing situations in the infant give way to different emotional and cognitive regulatory strategies, with impact on the effectiveness of the stress buffer systems. This paper presents what we can figure out about what is time to the infant, the importance of synchronization within infant and caregiver, the key concept of attachment disorganization, the concept of sustained social withdrawal as a defence mechanism and an alarm signal when synchronisation fails, and finally the key issue of conditions for effectiveness of early parent- infant preventive intervention.

Suggested Citation

  • Antoine Guedeney & Nicole Guedeney & Susana Tereno & Romain Dugravier & Tim Greacen & Bertrand Welniarz & Thomas Saias & CAPEDEP Study Group, 2011. "The Time of the Infant, Parent-Infant Desynchronization and Attachment Disorganization, or How Long Does it Take for a Preventive Action to be Effective?," Working Papers 2011-026, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
  • Handle: RePEc:hka:wpaper:2011-026
    Note: ECI

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    Parent- infant synchrony; Attachment Disorganization; Parenting; infant social withdrawal behaviour; early prevention and intervention;

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