Infant-mother attachment: factors related to its development and changes over time.
ABSTRACT As part of a large longitudinal study, assessments of attachment relationships in high-risk mother-infant pairs were conducted at 12 and 18 months. With data collected prenatally and during the infant's first 2 years of life, this study attempted to discriminate among 3 major attachment classifications and to account for qualitative changes in attachment relationships. The data included maternal and infant characteristics, mother-infant interactions, life-stress events, and family living arrangements. Several patterns seemed to emerge. Mothers of securely attached infants were consistently more cooperative and sensitive with their infants as observed in a feeding and play situation than mothers of anxiously attached infants. Anxious/resistant infants tended to lag behind their counterparts developmentally and were less likely to solicit responsive caretaking. Anxious/avoidant infants, although robust, tended to have mothers who had negative feelings about motherhood, were tense and irritable, and treated their infants in a perfunctory manner. Male babies were somewhat more vulnerable to qualitative differences in caretaking, while, for girls, maternal personality showed a stronger relationship to security of attachment. Changes from secure to anxious attachments were characterized by initially adequate caretaking skills but prolonged interaction with an aggressive and suspicious mother. Changes toward secure attachments tend to reflect growth and increasing competence among young mothers.
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ABSTRACT: The present study examined relations among maternal psychological resources, rejecting parenting, and early adolescent antisocial behavior in a sample of 231 low-income mothers and their sons with longitudinal assessments from age 18 months to 12 years. The maternal resources examined were age at first birth, aggressive personality, and empathy. Each of the maternal resources predicted rejecting parenting during early childhood in structural equation models that controlled for toddler difficult temperament, and rejecting parenting in early childhood predicted antisocial behavior in early adolescence. Rejecting parenting accounted for the indirect effect of each of the maternal resources on antisocial behavior, but a direct effect was also supported between maternal aggressive personality and youth antisocial behavior. Results highlight the importance of these relatively understudied maternal resources and have implications for prevention and intervention programs that focus on parenting during early childhood.Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 03/2008; 36(2):247-59. DOI:10.1007/s10802-007-9174-8 · 3.09 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: We examined variations in maternal sensitivity at 6 months of child age as a function of child negativity and maternal physiology. We expected maternal vagal withdrawal in response to infant negative affect to facilitate the maintenance of sensitivity, but only for mothers of securely attached children. One hundred and forty-eight infant-mother dyads were observed in multiple contexts at 6 months of child age, and associations among maternal and child variables were examined with respect to 12-month attachment quality. Mothers of later securely attached children were more sensitive than mothers of avoidant children. However, sensitivity decreased for all mothers at high levels of infant negative affect. Furthermore, for mothers of avoidant children, vagal withdrawal was associated with sensitivity to child distress. No association was found between vagal withdrawal and sensitivity for mothers of securely attached children. This suggests that mothers of avoidant children may be uniquely challenged by the affective demands of their infants.Infant behavior & development 03/2007; 30(1):114-26. DOI:10.1016/j.infbeh.2006.11.010 · 1.34 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The purpose of the present investigation was to examine the precursors and familial conditions which sustain school-aged children's separation anxiety. In a prospective, longitudinal study of 99 mother-child dyads, infancy measures of infant-mother attachment security, maternal separation anxiety, and maternal sensitivity were used to predict children's self-reported symptoms of separation anxiety at age 6. Insecurely attached children reported more separation anxiety than securely attached children. Insecure-ambivalent children reported marginally more separation anxiety than securely attached children, but not more than insecure-avoidant attached children. Regression analysis showed infant-mother attachment security and mother's sensitivity added uniquely to the prediction of children's separation anxiety, but mother's separation anxiety did not. Mediation tests show that the effect of mother's separation anxiety on children's separation anxiety may be mediated by maternal sensitivity. Research and clinical implications are discussed.Attachment & Human Development 01/2006; 7(4):393-408. DOI:10.1080/14616730500365894 · 2.38 Impact Factor