Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up (ABC)

The information in this program outline is provided by the program representative and edited by the CEBC staff. This program has been rated by the CEBC in the following Topic Areas:

Currently in Summary View
View Detailed Report

About This Program

Target Population: Caregivers of infants 6 months to 2 years old who have experienced early adversity

Brief Description

ABC targets several key issues that have been identified as problematic among children who have experienced early maltreatment and/or disruptions in care. These young children often behave in ways that push caregivers away. The first intervention component helps caregivers to re-interpret children's behavioral signals so that they provide nurturance even when it is not elicited. Nurturance does not come naturally to many caregivers, but children who have experienced early adversity especially need nurturing care. Thus, the intervention helps caregivers provide nurturing care even if it does not come naturally. Second, many children who have experienced early adversity are dysregulated behaviorally and biologically. The second intervention component helps caregivers provide a responsive, predictable environment that enhances young children's behavioral and regulatory capabilities. The intervention helps caregivers follow their children’s lead with delight. The third intervention component helps caregivers decrease behaviors that could be overwhelming or frightening to a young child.

Program Goals:

The program goals of Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up (ABC) are:

  • Increase caregiver nurturance, sensitivity, and delight
  • Decrease caregiver frightening behaviors
  • Increase child attachment security and decrease disorganized attachment
  • Increase child behavioral and biological regulation

Contact Information

Mary Dozier, PhD
Agency/Affiliation: University of Delaware
Phone: (302) 831-8801
Fax: (302) 831-3645
Caroline Roben, PhD
Title: Director of ABC Dissemination
Phone: (302) 319-1229

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: August 2016

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: April 2016

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: June 2008