Emotional availability: Critical questions and research horizons
ABSTRACT Based on attachment theory, the construct of emotional availability and its assessment goes beyond attachment in important ways. Its origins in clinical experience and emotions research are discussed as well as the prospects for continuing advances in knowledge stimulated by the contributions in the Special Section. This is especially so in terms of developmental variations and the biological underpinnings of emotional availability. A major need and opportunity also exists concerning research related to psychopathology, clinical interventions, and training.
Infant Mental Health Journal 11/2012; 33(6). DOI:10.1002/imhj.21366 · 0.61 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Emotional availability (EA), as a construct, refers to the capacity of a dyad to share an emotionally healthy relationship. The Emotional Availability (EA) Scales assess this construct using a multi-dimensional framework, with scales measuring the affect and behavior of both the child and adult partner (caregiver). The four caregiver components are sensitivity, structuring, non-intrusiveness, and non-hostility. The two child components are the child’s responsiveness to the caregiver and the child’s involvement of the caregiver. We first describe this relationship construct, look at psychometric properties in basic and prevention/intervention efforts, then review the extant empirical literature in order to examine the scope of studies assessing EA by using the EA Scales. We also explore its use in clinical practice. Throughout, we critically evaluate the knowledge base in this area as well as identify areas for further growth.Developmental Review 06/2014; 34(2). DOI:10.1016/j.dr.2014.01.002 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Despite theoretical links between attachment quality in early childhood and subsequent internalizing symptoms, there is limited empirical evidence supporting direct effects. In this article, we test whether early attachment insecurity indirectly contributes to adolescent internalizing by increasing the likelihood of certain pathways leading to elevated symptoms (i.e., moderated mediation). Structural equation modeling and bootstrapping were used to test for moderated mediation using longitudinal data from 910 adolescents participating in the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care (M age = 15.1; 50% female, 23% racial/ethnic minority). Among dyads with a history of an insecure attachment in early childhood, mothers' negative emotions during the transition to adolescence significantly predicted less availability during parent-adolescent interactions, which in turn increased adolescents' preoccupation with parental relationships. The same process was not evident in youth with a history of secure attachments. However, the extent to which preoccupation with parental relationships was associated with increases in internalizing symptoms depended on both attachment history and gender. Results highlight one pathway by which early attachment history may indirectly contribute to increased internalizing symptoms for girls during the transition to adolescence.Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology 11/2012; DOI:10.1080/15374416.2012.736357 · 1.92 Impact Factor