Article

Nonmaternal Care in the First Year of Life and Infant-Parent Attachment Security

College of Human Development, Pennsylvania State University, University Park 16802.
Child Development (Impact Factor: 4.72). 03/1988; 59(1):157-67. DOI: 10.2307/1130397
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT

Evidence from 2 longitudinal studies of infant and family development was combined and examined in order to determine if experience of extensive nonmaternal care in the first year is associated with heightened risk of insecure infant-mother attachment and, in the case of sons, insecure infant-father attachment. Analysis of data obtained during Strange Situation assessments conducted when infants were 12 and 13 months of age revealed that infants exposed to 20 or more hours of care per week displayed more avoidance of mother on reunion and were more likely to be classified as insecurely attached to her than infants with less than 20 hours of care per week. Sons whose mothers were employed on a full-time basis (greater than 35 hours per week) were more likely to be classified as insecure in their attachments to their fathers than all other boys, and, as a result, sons with 20 or more hours of nonmaternal care per week were more likely to be insecurely attached to both parents and less likely to be securely attached to both parents than other boys. A secondary analysis of infants with extensive care experience who did and did not develop insecure attachment relationships with their mothers highlights several conditions under which the risk of insecurity is elevated or reduced. Both sets of findings are considered in terms of other research and the context in which infant day-care is currently experienced in the United States.

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    • "Following this line of thinking, some researchers have used attachment theory as a framework to investigate teacher characteristics that promote the social and emotional well-being of the children in their care (e.g., Ahnert, Pinquart, & Lamb, 2006; Belsky & Rovine, 1988). This work has focused on teacher sensitivity and child attachment rather than on teachers' attachment styles. "
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    ABSTRACT: Research Findings: Adults’ attitudes about attachment relationships are central to how they perceive and respond to children. However, little is known about how attachment styles are related to teachers’ attitudes toward and interactions with infants and toddlers. From a survey of 207 students taking early childhood (EC) courses at 4 U.S. universities, we report relations among students’ attachment styles and their (a) career goals, (b) attitudes about caring for and educating infants and young children, and (c) interaction skills for responding in developmentally supportive ways. Overall, attachment security was positively associated with career goals focused on working with younger children, knowledge about infant/toddler development, attitudes that acknowledge the importance of adult support in children’s development, and developmentally supportive interaction skills. Students who scored high on attachment fearfulness minimized the importance of adults in children’s lives, minimized the importance of the early years for later learning, and endorsed strict and controlling forms of child guidance. Practice or Policy: A conceptual mediation model linking a path from attachment to caregiving skill through knowledge and attitudes is articulated. We propose a person-centered pedagogy for infant/toddler professional preparation that provides opportunities for reflection on one’s own attachment and its effects on work with young children.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2015 · Early Education and Development
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    • "If there is such a threshold, existing studies provide little information as to what it might be. Extensive nonmaternal care was defined in research conducted prior to 1990 as over 20 hr per week (Belsky & Rovine, 1988), but currently, full-time employment (i.e., 40 hr per week) of mothers with infants as young as 6 months old is fairly typical . Given the findings of the NICHD SECCYD, it seems likely that hours of nonmaternal care would need to be in excess of 40 hr per week to be considered extensive enough to present a risk for attachment disorganization. "

    Full-text · Dataset · Oct 2014
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    • "If there is such a threshold, existing studies provide little information as to what it might be. Extensive nonmaternal care was defined in research conducted prior to 1990 as over 20 hr per week (Belsky & Rovine, 1988), but currently, full-time employment (i.e., 40 hr per week) of mothers with infants as young as 6 months old is fairly typical . Given the findings of the NICHD SECCYD, it seems likely that hours of nonmaternal care would need to be in excess of 40 hr per week to be considered extensive enough to present a risk for attachment disorganization. "
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    ABSTRACT: We examined whether a maximum threshold of time spent in nonmaternal care exists, beyond which infants have an increased risk of forming a disorganized infant-mother attachment. The hours per week infants spent in nonmaternal care at 7-8 months were examined as a continuous measure and as a dichotomous threshold (over 40, 50 and 60 hr/week) to predict infant disorganization at 12-15 months. Two different samples (Austin and NICHD) were used to replicate findings and control for critical covariates: mothers' unresolved status and frightening behavior (assessed in the Austin sample, N = 125), quality of nonmaternal caregiving (assessed in the NICHD sample, N = 1,135), and family income and infant temperament (assessed in both samples). Only very extensive hours of nonmaternal care (over 60 hr/week) and mothers' frightening behavior independently predicted attachment disorganization. A polynomial logistic regression performed on the larger NICHD sample indicated that the risk of disorganized attachment exponentially increased after exceeding 60 hr/week. In addition, very extensive hours of nonmaternal care only predicted attachment disorganization after age 6 months (not prior). Findings suggest that during a sensitive period of attachment formation, infants who spend more than 60 hr/week in nonmaternal care may be at an increased risk of forming a disorganized attachment.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2014 · Development and Psychopathology
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