Parent–Child Attachment and Emotion Regulation

ArticleinNew Directions for Child and Adolescent Development 2015(148):31-45 · June 2015with 4,208 Reads
DOI: 10.1002/cad.20098 · Source: PubMed
Abstract
Given the centrality of both parent-child attachment and emotion regulation in children's development and adjustment, it is important to evaluate the relations between these constructs. This article discusses conceptual and empirical links between attachment and emotion regulation in middle childhood, highlights progress and challenges in the literature, and outlines future inquiries. Studies have established that securely attached children internalize effective emotion regulation strategies within the attachment relationship and are able to successfully employ adaptive emotion regulation strategies outside the attachment relationship, when the attachment figure is not present. There are not enough studies to conclude yet that the insecure attachment patterns (ambivalent, avoidant, and disorganized) may relate differentially with emotion regulation processes. Studies investigating whether there are unique links between the four attachment patterns and the various emotion regulation processes will advance the field considerably. Studies evaluating the associations between attachment and emotion regulation will benefit from a multimethod approach in measuring these constructs. Embedding the relation between parent-child attachment and emotion regulation within broader developmental models will further advance the research on this topic. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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  • ... Both the ability to explore the environment and the ability to use the caregiver as a resource are important for development (see also Figure 1). Exploration is crucial for children's acquisition of knowledge and skills (e.g., emotion regulation) that are needed for an autonomous and healthy adolescent and adult life (e.g., Brumariu, 2015; Kashdan et al., 2009). Support seeking is also thought to be crucial to protect children against the maladaptive effect of distress encountered over time (e.g., Dujardin et al., 2016). ...
    ... At the level of mechanisms, an increasing number of mediation studies suggest that emotion regulation strategies, self-regulation capacity, and cognitive vulnerabilities explain the link between attachment and psychopathology. First, with regard to emotion regulation strategies, there is abundant and robust evidence that insecurely attached children are at risk to develop emotional and behavioural problems because they fail to adequately regulate negative emotions (Brumariu, 2015). While more securely attached children are more likely to seek attachment figure support as a protection against long-term maladaptive effects of distressing life events (Dujardin et al., 2016), less securely attached children are less inclined to seek proximity and support (Dujardin et al., 2016, Claes et al., 2016). ...
    ... Instead, they start developing maladaptive strategies to regulate the negative emotions they experience during distress (Cassidy, 1994). Which strategies they develop depends on whether they are more resistant/anxiously or more avoidantly attached (Brenning et al., 2012; Brumariu, 2015; Cassidy, 1994). More resistant or anxiously attached children are more likely to be overwhelmed by negative emotions. ...
    Article
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    Meta-analyses consistently demonstrate that Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) provides effective evidence-based treatment for children and adolescents with emotional and behaviour problems. Also consistent across meta-analyses is the observation that CBT treatment effects are often medium in size. This observation has instigated a search for factors that could help explain the limited treatment effects and that could be focused upon to enhance CBT treatment outcomes. The current qualitative review focuses on the parent-child attachment relationship as one factor that could be relevant to enhance CBT treatment effects. This review first acknowledges reasons why CBT has historically not been attracted to attachment theory and its postulates. Second, recent evidence is examined to evaluate whether attachment can be approached from a cognitive schema perspective. Subsequently, research is described showing how restoring attachment relationships could result in large treatment effects. Finally, this evidence is integrated in a model of attachment assessment and intervention that might be compatible with CBT. In sum, this review suggests that restoring trust in insecure parent-child attachment relationships can be integrated within CBT and could contribute to its treatment outcomes.
  • ... These expectations about others and about the self are internalized as mental representations (internal working models) during infancy and become consolidated by adolescence, influencing how individuals interpret and process the social information and react to social situations (Dykas & Cassidy, 2011). Children who construct positive expectations about others and about the self during the interactions with the primary caregivers are able to explore the world with confidence and to develop emotional and social com- petencies (Brumariu, 2015;Groh et al., 2014) that help them to establish and maintain healthy peer relationships (Veríssimo, Santos, Fernandes, Shin, & Vaughn, 2014;Veríssimo et al., 2011). ...
    ... In fact, insecurely attached children tend to develop negative expectations about the self and about social relationships, as well as to interpret and process social information in a negatively biased fashion (Dykas & Cassidy, 2011), making them more likely to be targets of peer victimization (Walden & Beran, 2010). On the other hand, an insecure parent-child attachment does not provide a context for learning about relationships and self-regulation in a way that fosters the development of social and emotional competence (Brumariu, 2015;Groh et al., 2014;Van Rizin & Leve, 2012) which, in turn, can protect children against peer victi- mization (Zych, Farrington, Llorent, & Tfoti, 2017). The protective role of both these positive expectations about the self and social relationships and of these social and emotional competencies against peer victimization may be particularly important during adolescence. ...
    ... Both low positive affect and parental supervision may result in the development of negative expectations about the self and about others (Bowlby, 1973(Bowlby, , 1980(Bowlby, , 1982 that can lead to the processing of social information in a negatively biased fashion (Dykas & Cassidy, 2011), which make adolescents more likely to elicit and retaliate peer victimization. Moreover, an insecure parent-child attachment does not foster the development of social and emotional competence (Brumariu, 2015;Groh et al., 2014;Van Rizin & Leve, 2012) that can protect them against peer victimization ( Zych et al., 2017). On the other hand, literature has suggested that non-aggressive victims usually report higher levels of parental overprotection than aggressive victims ( Lereya et al., 2013). ...
    Article
    Peer victimization is one of the most prominent problems during adolescence. Research has distinguished aggressive and non-aggressive victims; however, there are still significant drawbacks in understanding the social and family functioning of these different groups of victimized adolescents. This study aimed to compare social behavior and perceived attachment security to parents of Portuguese adolescents, classified as aggressive victims, non-aggressive victims and non-victims. The sample consisted of 222 adolescents (115 boys, 107 girls) who completed the Kerns Security Scale and the Extended Class Play, to assess perceived attachment security and social behavior, respectively. Controlling for age and sex, aggressive victims and non-aggressive victims differed in anxious withdrawal but shared a similar profile in peer exclusion and prosocial behavior. Only aggressive victims reported lower attachment security to mother and father when compared to non-victims. These findings underline that victimized adolescents constitute a heterogeneous group in terms of their social and family functioning. Keywords: Perceived attachment security to parents; Adolescence; Peer victimization; Aggressive behavior; Anxious withdrawal
  • ... The AISI 6-12 years may need even further alterations to make it more appropriate for middle childhood, for example, by including items on passive-aggressive, selfdetermining, and manipulative behavior in the Ambivalent (Type C) scale [43], and items on role reversal in the Disorganized (Type D) scale [23]. Future studies should examine other sources of validity indications of the AISI 6-12 years, such as convergent and concurrent validity by comparing scores of the AISI 6-12 years with other measures that examine attachment patterns in middle childhood, and with measures that assess psychopathology and adjustment problems [5,53,55]. Although, Bosmans and Kerns [7] argue that different measurement strategies tap into different components or aspects of the child-parent attachment relationship, and therefore do not necessarily have to correlate in order to be valid (see also [56]). The AISI 6-12 years aims to measure the parents' perspective on the quality of the attachment relationship with their child. ...
    ... Additionally, the parent's perception of their child may influence their parenting behavior, which impacts on the way a child develops, including the child's attachment. Insecure attachment relationships are predictive of all types of developmental problems in life [4,5,53,55]. Therefore, parental reports provide in the need of clinical practice for straightforward instruments that can be used in the screening of attachment related problems and the ability to include parental perceptions in attachment research. ...
    Article
    Full-text available
    Background The aim of the present study was to examine the internal structure and reliability of the Attachment Insecurity Screening Inventory (AISI) 6–12. The AISI 6–12 years is a parent-report questionnaire for assessing the parents’ perspective on the quality of the attachment relationship with their child aged between 6 and 12 years. Methods The sample consisted of 681 mothers and fathers reporting on 372 children (72.3% adoption parents, 14.9% non-biological primary care takers including foster parents, and 12.8% biological parents). The internal structure was assessed with multilevel confirmatory factor analyses (CFA) and the reliability of the scores with Cronbach’s and ordinal alphas. ResultsMultilevel CFA confirmed a three-factor model of avoidant, ambivalent/resistant and disorganized attachment. Multi-group CFA indicated full configural and metric measurement invariance, and partial scalar and strict measurement invariance across mothers and fathers. Reliability coefficients were found to be sufficient. Conclusions This study showed the potential of using parental reports in the initial screening of attachment related problems, especially considering the practical approach of parental reports. However, further development of the AISI 6–12 years seems important to increase the validity of the AISI 6–12 years. In addition, future studies are necessary to replicate the current findings, and to strengthen the evidence that the AISI 6–12 years is appropriate for the use in middle childhood and validly assesses the parents’ perspective on attachment insecurities in their child.
  • ... Following the work of Bowlby (1980), several researchers have proposed theoretical models which specifically linked early attachment experiences to ER skills. The main tenet of these models is that children who formed secure attach- ment bonds seek and receive caregiver support to effectively regulate emotions (Brumariu, 2015;Cassidy, 1994). How- ever, this scenario is unlikely for insecurely attached children. ...
    ... This confirmed our hypothesis that avoid- antly attached children generated significantly fewer self-regulatory ER strategies than the very secure attachment group. As we predicted during preschool, increased reliance on self-regulatory strategies, and implicitly awareness of such strategies, is associated with supportive parent-child interactions, which enable securely attached children to gain more knowledge concerning adaptive ways for managing negative emotions (Brumariu, 2015;Cassidy, 1994). Fur- thermore, these results taken together with those regarding co-regulatory strategies seem to suggest that avoidantly attached children exhibit the most difficulties concerning ER awareness. ...
    Article
    The current study evaluated the effects of preschoolers' attachment status on their awareness concerning emotion regulation strategies. A total of 212 children between 3 and 5 years participated in this study and completed two self-report tasks. The first was the Attachment Story Completion Task (ASCT), which assessed children's internal working models concerning parent–child attachment; the second evaluated children's ability to generate emotion regulation strategies in relation to three negative emotions (anger, sadness, and fear). Statistical analyses involved a mixed models multilinear regression approach controlling for age and gender. The results consistently revealed that the insecure avoidant group was significantly less likely than securely attached children to generate both comforting and self-regulatory strategies. Surprisingly, the insecure ambivalent group showed no deficits across measured outcomes. When the analyses were conducted separately for each negative emotion, findings for co-regulatory strategies for fear, and self-regulatory strategies for anger also suggested that avoidantly attached children exhibited the lowest levels of awareness compared with children from the secure attachment group. These findings stress the importance of children's attachment status, and implicitly, the quality of the parent–child interactions for children's awareness of emotion regulation strategies related to negative emotions.
  • ... A key reason to link emotion-based models with parental participation stems from clinical and theoretical conceptualizations of parents as central players in their child's emotion regulation development. For example, as discussed by Brumariu (2015), the parent-child attachment system has a safety-regulation function that serves, if activated by emotional distress, to prompt the child to seek support from the parent. However, attachment is not only an emergency response system. ...
    ... Children learn about emotion and emotion regulation strategies through interaction with their caregivers. This occurs through a variety of socialization methods, such as direct teaching to communicate about their emotions, observing family interactions and being assisted in modulating their emotional responses (Brumariu, 2015). Building upon evidence that link parenting practices to children's affective regulation and aggression (Chang, Schwartz, Dodge, & McBride-Chang, 2003), it follows that emotion-based treatment models directly involving parents can be critical to a child's recovery from mental ill- ness. ...
    Article
    This study evaluated the 2-day intensive modality of Emotion Focused Family Therapy (EFFT). The intervention attempts to prepare parents to take a primary role in their child's recovery from a range of mental health issues. One hundred and twenty-four parents completed the intervention and provided data a week prior to intervention, post-intervention and at 4-month follow-up. Results include significantly reduced parent blocks and increased parental self-efficacy in relation to involvement in their child's recovery, as well as significant improvement in child symptomatology. The findings confirm positive results from an earlier pilot study involving eating disorders and demonstrate the potential for EFFT as an intervention for a range of clinical problems in children and youth.
  • ... A key reason to link emotion-based models with parental participation stems from clinical and theoretical conceptualizations of parents as central players in their child's emotion regulation development. For example, as discussed by Brumariu (2015), the parent-child attachment system has a safety-regulation function that serves, if activated by emotional distress, to prompt the child to seek support from the parent. However, attachment is not only an emergency response system. ...
    ... Children learn about emotion and emotion regulation strategies through interaction with their caregivers. This occurs through a variety of socialization methods, such as direct teaching to communicate about their emotions, observing family interactions and being assisted in modulating their emotional responses (Brumariu, 2015). Building upon evidence that link parenting practices to children's affective regulation and aggression (Chang, Schwartz, Dodge, & McBride-Chang, 2003), it follows that emotion-based treatment models directly involving parents can be critical to a child's recovery from mental ill- ness. ...
    Article
    This study evaluated the 2‐day intensive modality of Emotion Focused Family Therapy (EFFT). The intervention attempts to prepare parents to take a primary role in their child's recovery from a range of mental health issues. One hundred and twenty‐four parents completed the intervention and provided data a week prior to intervention, post‐intervention and at 4‐month follow‐up. Results include significantly reduced parent blocks and increased parental self‐efficacy in relation to involvement in their child's recovery, as well as significant improvement in child symptomatology. The findings confirm positive results from an earlier pilot study involving eating disorders and demonstrate the potential for EFFT as an intervention for a range of clinical problems in children and youth.
  • ... A key reason to link emotion-based models with parental participation stems from clinical and theoretical conceptualizations of parents as central players in their child's emotion regulation development. For example, as discussed by Brumariu (2015), the parent-child attachment system has a safety-regulation function that serves, if activated by emotional distress, to prompt the child to seek support from the parent. However, attachment is not only an emergency response system. ...
    ... Children learn about emotion and emotion regulation strategies through interaction with their caregivers. This occurs through a variety of socialization methods, such as direct teaching to communicate about their emotions, observing family interactions and being assisted in modulating their emotional responses (Brumariu, 2015). Building upon evidence that link parenting practices to children's affective regulation and aggression (Chang, Schwartz, Dodge, & McBride-Chang, 2003), it follows that emotion-based treatment models directly involving parents can be critical to a child's recovery from mental ill- ness. ...
    Article
    This study evaluated the 2-day intensive modality of Emotion Focused Family Therapy (EFFT). The intervention attempts to prepare parents to take a primary role in their child’s recovery from a range of mental health issues. One hundred and twenty-four parents completed the intervention and provided data a week prior to intervention, post-intervention, and at four month follow-up. Results include significantly reduced parent blocks and increased parental self efficacy in relation to involvement in their child’s recovery, as well as significant improvement in child symptomatology. The findings confirm positive results from an earlier pilot study involving eating disorders and demonstrate the potential for EFFT as an intervention for a range of clinical problems in children and youth.
  • ... Further, interactions 25 with attachment figures are thought to facilitate the development of children's emotion regulation capacities ( Cassidy, 1994), which become internalized and generalized to other contexts ( Kerns, Abraham, Schlegelmilch, & Morgan, 2007;Sroufe, Schork, Motti, Lawroski, & LaFreniere, 1984). A growing body of evidence indicates that children who form secure attachments to caregivers are more advanced in their understanding of and 30 ability to regulate emotion ( Brumariu, 2015;Cassidy, 1994;Cooke, Stuart-Parrigon, Movahed-Abtahi, Koehn, & Kerns, in press AQ2 ;Parrigon, Kerns, Movahed-Abtahi, Koehn, & Koehn, 2015 AQ3 ;Zimmer-Gembeck et al., 2015). To date, most studies have examined how attachment is related to trait-like measures of emotion (e.g. ...
    ... "be cool"; Saarni, 1999), and a failure to do so at this age is associated with difficulties such as rejection by peers ( Eisenberg, Vaughan, & Hofer, 2009). In line with theory, research findings point to advantages in emotional competence for more securely attached children ( Brumariu, 2015;Parrigon, Kerns, Abtahi, & Koehn, 75 2015;Zimmer-Gembeck et al., 2015). In middle childhood, securely attached children adopt more adaptive emotion regulation strategies such as coping through seeking support or problem-solving ( Abraham & Kerns, 2013;Colle & Del Giudice, 2011;Contreras, Kerns, Weimer, Gentzler, & Tomich, 2000;Gaylord-Harden, Taylor, Campbell, Kesselring, & Grant, 2009;Kerns et al., 2007;Psouni & Apetroaia, 2014) and constructively 80 regulating discrete emotions such as anger and sadness ( Brenning & Braet, 2013;Schwarz, Stutz, & Ledermann, 2012). ...
    Article
    In middle childhood, more securely attached children show better emotion regulation when assessed as general tendencies (e.g. coping style), but studies looking at emotion in response to specific stressors have revealed mixed results. This study examined how attachment security, avoidance, and ambivalence - assessed with a story stem task (99 children, 9-11 years old) - relate to dynamic indices of affective and autonomic responses (baseline, reactivity, recovery). Reports of positive and negative affect, and high-frequency heart rate variability (HF-HRV), were assessed during a social stressor task. Securely attached children did not show reactivity effects, although they did show greater recovery of positive affect after the task ended. Avoidant children showed both less reactivity and recovery of negative affect, suggesting a dampened emotional response. Ambivalent children showed more reactivity and more recovery of negative affect. Autonomic response changes were only evident for ambivalent children, who showed less suppression of HF-HRV variability under stress.
  • ... Furthermore, associations between emotion understanding and specific insecure patterns of attachment need to be evaluated because most studies in the current meta-analysis assessed attachment along a continuum of security rather than assessing insecure patterns of attachment. We speculate that children with insecure/ avoidant attachments may lack emotion understanding skills due to fewer opportunities to experience dyadic emotional dialogues with their caregiver, in which emotions are acknowledged and interpreted (Brumariu, 2015). They may be especially likely to display deficits in understanding negative emotions after learning to minimize expressions of negative affect to maintain contact with their rejecting caregiver (Cassidy, 1994 ). ...
    ... They may be especially likely to display deficits in understanding negative emotions after learning to minimize expressions of negative affect to maintain contact with their rejecting caregiver (Cassidy, 1994 ). Children with insecure/ambivalent attachments may learn to exaggerate displays of distress to increase caregiver responding and thus gain some understanding of emotions by learning how their emotions draw reactions from others; however, they may still use less adaptive methods of interpreting and managing emotions than do securely attached children (Brumariu, 2015; Cassidy, 1994). Evidence suggests that children with insecure/disorganized attachments, especially those experiencing frightening or abusive care, may display hypervigilance to emotion, especially anger, in an attempt to predict what their caregiver might do (Pollak, Cicchetti, Hornung, & Reed, 2000). ...
    Article
    Understanding emotions serves as a critical foundation for several aspects of children’s social development. Secure attachment relationships, which allow for open emotion communication between the parent and child, are hypothesized to foster emotion understanding. The goal of the current meta-analysis was to determine the strength of the relationship between emotion understanding and attachment security. We conducted an electronic search using PsycINFO and identified 10 studies (N = 564 children) examining this association in children younger than 18 years of age. The meta-analysis yielded a medium and significant overall effect size of r = .33 with no significant moderators. Thus, our results demonstrated that the association between emotion understanding and security of attachment is quite robust.
  • ... Because they have learned that when obstacles arise, accessible and supportive attachment figures (e.g., parents, peers or partners) will be there to help, and that this help will result in emotional comfort or relief (secure script). Empirical evidence supports this theorizing, showing that attachment security is indeed linked with the use of adaptive emotion regulation strate- gies, including support seeking in children and adults, and positive reappraisal of emotions and maintaining efforts on constructive alternatives in adults (see Brumariu, 2015;Mikulincer & Shaver, 2007g for complete discussion). ...
    ... As such, like securely attached people, avoidant children and adults downregulate threat-related emotions; however, contrary to their secure counterparts, their ultimate goal is to minimizednot to promotedcloseness and interdependence to others (Ainsworth et al., 1978). Empirical evidence has shown that avoidant adults and children use maladaptive emotion regulation strategies that suppress emotions, deny stress, or divert attention from emotion- eliciting stimuli (Brumariu, 2015). Avoidant adults have also been found to forgo support seeking, and to have more pessimistic sit- uation appraisals and attitudes (Mikulincer & Shaver, 2007g). ...
    Article
    Attachment relationships play an important role in people's wellbeing and affliction with physical and mental illnesses, including eating disorders. Seven reviews from the clinical field have consistently shown that higher attachment insecurity-failure to form trusting and reliable relationships with others-systematically characterized individuals with eating disorders. Nevertheless, to date, it is unclear whether (and if so how) these findings apply to the population at large. Consequently, the objective of the present meta-analysis is to quantify the relationship between attachment and unhealthy and healthy eating in the general population. Data from 70 studies and 19,470 participants were converted into r effect sizes and analysed. Results showed that higher attachment insecurity (r = 0.266), anxiety (r = 0.271), avoidance (r = 0.119), and fearfulness (r = 0.184) was significantly associated with more unhealthy eating behaviors, ps = 0.000; conversely, higher attachment security correlated with lower unhealthy eating behaviors (r = -0.184, p = 0.000). This relationship did not vary across type of unhealthy eating behavior (i.e., binge eating, bulimic symptoms, dieting, emotional eating, and unhealthy food consumption). The little exploratory evidence concerning healthy eating and attachment was inconclusive with one exception-healthy eating was associated with lower attachment avoidance (r = -0.211, p = 0.000). Our results extend previous meta-analytic findings to show that lack of trusting and reliable relationships does not only set apart eating disordered individuals from controls, but also characterize unhealthy eating behaviors in the general population. More evidence is needed to determine how attachment and healthy eating are linked and assess potential mechanisms influencing the attachment-eating relationship.
  • ... As a consequence, securely attached children, through interactions with caregivers who are consistently available and sensitive to the children's needs, learn to communicate openly about their emotional experience (Bretherton, 1987). A recent literature review ( Brumariu, 2015) highlighted that more securely attached children compared to less securely attached children are more aware of their emotion, have a better understanding of emotions, and are able to discuss openly both their positive and negative emotional experiences with their parents. Further, mothers of securely attached children are more attuned to their children's emotional states of distress (Kerns, 2008). ...
    ... It is likely that children securely attached and of mothers experiencing lower anxiety about children's individuation process are able to openly communicate their anxiety related feelings, which in turn results in higher levels of agreements regarding children's anxiety symptoms. Conversely, children more insecurely attached have difficulty discussing their emotional experiences (Brumariu, 2015), which reflects in disagreements. Overall, these results suggest the importance of taking into account children's perceptions of the quality of parent-child relationship when assessing children's anxiety based on mothers and children's reports. ...
    Article
    Purpose: Previous literature demonstrated low-to-moderate rates of agreement between children and mothers regarding child anxiety. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate factors related to differences between mother-child dyads who disagreed vs agreed in their reports of child anxiety symptoms. Design/methodology/approach: In total, 87 children aged 9-12 years old and their mothers completed questionnaires regarding maternal perceptions of child behavior, maternal separation anxiety about the child’s individuation, and mother-child relationship characteristics. Findings: The results showed that mothers in mother-child dyads who disagreed on child anxiety symptoms, compared to those in dyads who agreed on child anxiety symptoms, perceived their children as showing higher affect intensity and behavioral problems. They also expressed greater anxiety about the children’s individuation process, characterized in part by children’s increased autonomy and decline of reliance on them. Further, children in dyads who disagreed, compared to those in dyads who agreed, reported lower mother-child attachment security. Originality/value: The results extend the literature by identifying specific factors related to the discrepancy between mothers’ and children’s reports of childhood anxiety in early adolescence. The results highlight the need to consider both mothers’ and children’s views when assessing childhood anxiety. Importantly, the results also indicate that specific factors investigated in this study, including maternal perception of children’s behavioral problems and their affect intensity, maternal anxiety about child individuation, and mother-child attachment security, could be used to inform clinical decisions regarding informant discrepancies.
  • ... Although all these studies confirm the association between insecure attachment and NSSI, less is known about the mechanisms that underlie this relationship. To explain this relationship, one can suppose that uncertainty about the availability of the attachment figure decreases the likelihood that insecurely attached individuals use their attachment figures as a resource to help regulate distress () and increases the use of maladaptive coping strategies (Brumariu 2015). Specifically, attachment-related expectations determine whether or not individuals communicate with their attachment figures about their experiences (Bosmans et al. 2013a). ...
    Article
    Insecure attachment is a transdiagnostic risk factor for the development of emotional and behavior problems. In the present study, we investigated the association between attachment-related expectations and nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) in a sample of 42 university students, taking into account the attentional bias around mother as a mechanism to explain this association. All participants completed the Self-Harm Inventory to assess life-time NSSI and the Inventory of Parent and Peer Attachment and the Attentional Breadth Task. Overall, 28.6 % of the participants engaged in at least one type of life-time NSSI. The results showed that participants who are less able to trust their mother are less likely to communicate with her, which is linked to more life-time NSSI, but only when their attention is more focused on her. Therefore, from a clinical point of view, it is advisable to also focus on the child-parent interaction while preventing or treating NSSI in adolescents and young adults.
  • ... The central characteristic of disorganized attachment is the absence or a breakdown of a coherent attachment strategy regulating emotional challenges (Main and Solomon, 1990; George and Solomon, 1999). There is ample empirical evidence that attachment in childhood and adolescence is associated with emotion regulation (Kobak et al., 1993; Cassidy, 1994; Zimmermann, 1999; Waters et al., 2010; Brumariu, 2015; Zimmer-Gembeck et al., 2015) and even has effects on emotion related psychophysiology (Gander and Buchheim, 2015) also in adolescents' interaction with their mothers (Spangler and Zimmermann, 2014). Zimmermann et al. (2009) tested whether attachment and genetic variations of the 5-HTTLPR affect emotionality, emotion regulation, and aggression in early adolescence in a social talk show task eliciting social evaluative fear. ...
    Article
    Full-text available
    Adolescence is a time of increased emotionality and major changes in emotion regulation often elicited in autonomy-relevant situations. Both genetic as well as social factors may lead to inter-individual differences in emotional processes in adolescence. We investigated whether both 5-HTTLPR and attachment security influence adolescents’ observed emotionality, emotional dysregulation, and their aggressive hostile autonomy while interacting with their mothers. Eighty-eight adolescents at age twelve were observed in interaction with their mothers during a standardized, emotion eliciting computer game task. They were genotyped for the 5-HTTLPR, a repeat polymorphism in the promoter region of the serotonin transporter gene. Concurrent attachment quality was assessed by the Late Childhood Attachment Interview. Results revealed a significant gene x attachment effect showing that ss/sl carriers of 5-HTTLPR show increased emotional dysregulation and aggressive hostile autonomy towards their mothers. The results of the study suggest that secure attachment in adolescence moderates the genetically based higher tendency for emotional dysregulation and aggressive reactions to restrictions of autonomy during emotional social interactions with their mothers.
  • ... I tillegg kan sosial støtte redusere opplevelsen av hjelpeløshet, håpløshet og depresjon i en belastende livssituasjon ( Tezel, Karabulutlu et al. 2011). En ytterligere forklaring på buffereffekten når man opplever negative livshendelser kan vaere at tilknytning til andre mennesker er en viktig måte å regulere følelser som tristhet, frykt og sorg ( Brumariu 2015). Igjen er det viktig å påpeke at indre mekanismer som personlighet og genetisk sårbarhet også har stor påvirkning på mental helse og sammenhengen mellom sosiale forhold og psykisk fungering. ...
  • ... Moreover, this observation is interesting because it could raise the question whether we observed a mechanism that explains why some children are better in focusing on and thriving from positive emotions (Raes, Smets, Nelis, & Schoofs, 2012). In light of the increasing interest in the role of attachment in the development of adaptive emotion regulation strategies (e.g., Brumariu, 2015) this finding could mean that this focus of mothers on their child's positive emotions represents one strategy through secure attachment relations might stimulate children's ability to benefit from positive experiences. Surprisingly, children's facial expressions that signal distress like sadness or fear did not elicit increased attention in parents of more securely attached children. ...
    Article
    Although mother's attention to offspring is deemed important to support their offspring's secure attachment development, little research tested this association. The current study aimed to test the hypothesis that how mothers orient their attention to their offspring is linked to differences in offspring's attachment style. Additionally, we tested whether this association depended on which emotions children express. 29 mothers participated with their offspring (48.3% girls; ages 9 to 15 years, M = 10.93, SD = 1.67). Across two experimental blocks, eye movements were recorded as mothers viewed photographs of offspring and unfamiliar children showing neutral (block 1) and facial expressions of fearful, happy and sad (block 2). Offspring's self-reported attachment anxiety was related to increased maintained attention of the mother on the offspring's neutral face, while more attachment security was related to reduced maintained attention. With regard to emotional faces, mothers of more anxiously attached children showed more maintained attention on all emotional expressions of their offspring, including sadness. Furthermore, we found a positive attentional bias of mothers with more securely attached children; increased attention on the offspring's happy face was found. No attentional processes were found for attachment avoidance. Different attachment-related parenting behaviors, leading to a specific attachment style of the offspring, could be explained by these attentional allocations.
  • Article
    The study investigated the associations among personality (Big Five model), attachment and psychosocial functioning in a nonclinical sample of 323 Greek preadolescents. Results indicated that positive personality traits were negatively associated with psychopathological symptoms, and positively with prosocial behavior. Perceived attachment moderated the relationship between openness and conduct problems, where the negative effect of openness on conduct problems was more pronounced for insecurely attached preadolescents. Finally, extraversion moderated the relationship between perceived attachment and conduct problems, thus acting as a protective factor to the conduct problems of insecure preadolescents. Results are discussed for their practical implications.
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    A substantial body of research focuses on student achievement and the characteristics of schools that regularly produce it. While academic achievement is an important variable to measure, student engagement serves as a related and highly influential variable that merits more attention, particularly as it relates to preventative interventions. Student engagement mediates and moderates the relationship between parental influences and academic achievement and school completion. Research examining influences on engagement have often utilized a familiar concept known as parent involvement. Traditional research on parent involvement is school-centric, meaning it is focused on parents’ interactions with and attendance at school events. Unfortunately, this school-centric approach fails to incorporate the conjoint influence of parenting practices, parenting styles, parent-child relationship quality and family structure. New research that examines non-school parental and familial factors influencing student engagement is needed. This article maps the conceptual territory for future research and enhanced practice that is centered on student engagement and the important role that parents and families can play in fostering positive academic outcomes.
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    Six- and nine-year-old children (N = 97) heard illustrated stories evoking anger in a story character and provided evaluations of the effectiveness of eight anger regulation strategies. Half the stories involved the child's mother as social partner and the other half involved a peer. Attachment security was assessed via the Security Scale. Children reported greater effectiveness for seeking support from adults and peers in the peer context than the mother context, but perceived venting as more effective with mothers. Children with higher security scores were more likely to endorse problem solving and less likely to endorse aggression in both social contexts than those with lower security scores. Early evidence for gender differences was found in that boys endorsed the effectiveness of distraction while girls endorsed venting their emotion.
  • Article
    Attachment theory and previous research on emotion regulation (ER) suggest that ER will be associated with adult attachment orientation, with the expectation of different associations of attachment avoidance, anxiety, and security with specific ER patterns. In addition, research has shown that the emotion under consideration and the context may matter to patterns of ER and associations between attachment and ER. In the present study, we examined associations between attachment representations, and emotion specific (sadness, worry, and anger) ER among late adolescents and young adults aged 16 to 23 years (M = 19.6, SD = 1.58). In addition, to consider context, participants were randomly assigned to report ER following insecurity priming or no priming. Participants were 383 (181 male, 202 female) students who completed a self-report questionnaire. As expected, multivariate regression results examining all attachment orientations simultaneously showed that attachment anxiety was associated with greater dysregulation (sadness, worry, and anger), but also more anger suppression. In contrast, attachment avoidance was associated with greater suppression (sadness and worry), but also more anger dysregulation. Attachment security was associated with less dysregulation (sadness, worry, and anger), and less sadness and worry suppression. Finally, sadness and anger dysregulation were higher when reported after insecurity priming compared to the standard no prime condition, but few associations between attachment orientations and ER were moderated by condition. The results suggest that individuals’ attachment representations are associated with ER, with security a benefit to adaptive ER, and anxiety and avoidance playing different roles in maladaptive ER for different emotions.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    Attachment theorists have described the parent–child attachment relationship as a foundation for the emergence and development of children's capacity for emotion regulation and coping with stress. The purpose of this review was to summarize the existing research addressing this issue. We identified 23 studies that employed validated assessments of attachment, which were not based on self-report questionnaires, and separated the summary into findings for toddlers/preschool, children, and adolescents. Although most associations were weak and only a minority of the multiple possible associations tested was supported in each study, all studies (but one) reported at least one significant association between attachment and emotion regulation or coping. The evidence pointed to the regulatory and coping problems of toddlers showing signs of ambivalent attachment or the benefits of secure (relative to insecure) attachment for toddlers, children, and adolescents. Toddlers who showed signs of avoidant attachment relied more on self-related regulation (or less social-oriented regulation and coping), but it was not clear whether these responses were maladaptive. There was little information available regarding associations of ambivalent attachment with school-age children's or adolescents' emotion regulation. There were also few studies that assessed disorganized attachment.
  • Article
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    Une littérature abondante porte sur le rôle des premières relations dans le développement de l’empathie. L’essentiel de ces travaux s’intéresse à l’enfant, laissant la question des processus en jeu chez l’adulte encore sans réponse. Les liens entre l’empathie et, respectivement, l’attachement aux parents et l’attachement au conjoint, ont été étudiés sur 26 hommes. Le rôle des événements de vie pouvant affecter la régulation émotionnelle nécessaire à une bonne empathie a également été examiné. Les résultats révèlent un lien robuste entre l’empathie et la sécurité vis-à-vis des parents, même après l’expérience d’événements marquants. Ce lien n’a pas été mis en évidence du côté du conjoint. Les résultats suggèrent par ailleurs un impact des événements de vie sur la constance du sentiment de sécurité.
  • Article
    We examined the prediction that the interaction between Glucocorticoid Receptor Gene (NR3C1) methylation, stress, and experienced maternal support predicts anxious and avoidant attachment development. This was tested in a general population sample of 487 children and adolescents (44% boys, Mage = 11.84, Sdage = 2.4). These children were followed over a period of 18 months. In line with the prediction, we found that NR3C1 methylation moderates the effect of maternal support during stress on anxious attachment development 18 months later. More stressed children who experienced less maternal support reported increased anxious attachment when their NR3C1 gene was highly methylated. This effect could not be explained by children’s level of psychopathology. No effects were found for attachment avoidance. These data provide the first prospective evidence that epigenetic processes are involved in attachment development.
  • Article
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    Despite increasing societal acceptance of sexual-minority individuals, there are still gay, lesbian, and bisexual (GLB) adolescents who experience negative mental health outcomes. Minority stress theory posits that stigma-related stress associated with sexual-minority status drives increased risk among GLB individuals. Furthermore, recent evidence suggests that minority stress impacts emotion regulation (ER), identified as a particularly important risk factor for sexual-minority youth (SMY). Current research has identified some aspects of parenting contribute to GLB youth's mental health. We review the literature in these areas, and also integrate research from the broader developmental field on families and emotion socialization in order to identify the need for studies of parenting that go beyond existing data on parental acceptance and supportiveness of youth's sexual orientation. Limitations of the current literature and directions for future research are discussed, with specific focus on implications for interventions with SMY and their families.
  • Article
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    Introduction According to Bowbly attachment theory, attachment of a baby and its main care provider, influences on social growth and the baby’s feelings throughout its life. The present study was performed aim to determine the effect of attachment style to parents on domains of sexual dysfunction in married women. Methods This cross-sectional study was carried out on two hundred married women who were fertile, and referred private and governmental gynecology clinics in Mashhad, Iran, in 2014. Data collection tools were three questionnaires; Demographic and marital questionnaire, Female sexual function index questionnaire, and Adult attachment style questionnaire. Data were analyzed by SPSS version 20 (IBM© SPSS© Statistics version 20 using independent-samples t-test and logistic regression. The statistical tests were performed at the 95% confidence interval. Result Mean of safe attachment style to parents in all aspect of sexual dysfunction was significantly lower (p≤0.01), however, mean of distant attachment style to parents in all aspects of sexual dysfunction was significantly higher (p≤0.05). Conclusion Secure and distance attachment style to the mother showed maximum power of prediction for sexual dysfunction, which indicates the importance of attachment to parents and its impact on adult relationships.
  • Article
    Following the theoretical propositions of the Emotion Regulation model of attachment, the current study investigated whether attachment anxiety and attachment avoidance might play a differential contributing role in the development of bulimic symptoms, through assumed differences in adopting specific maladaptive emotion regulation strategies in a sample of adolescents. Developmentally appropriate self-report questionnaires were administered to a community sample of 397 adolescents (Mean age: 14.02; 62.7% female) and this at 2 time points with a 1-year time lag. Results provided longitudinal evidence for the Emotion Regulation model of attachment in confirming the differential contributing role of the attachment dimensions on the development of bulimic symptoms in a sample of adolescents. More specifically, attachment anxiety seemed to be related to bulimic symptoms through rumination, while attachment avoidance through emotional control. These results may have clinical implications for assessment and treatment of bulimic symptoms in adolescents.
  • Article
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    The current study aims to examine adolescents across four countries - Zambia, Ghana, Argentina, and India -, regarding: a) mother-child relationship; b) father-child relationship; c) adolescents’ emotion regulation; and d) the relationship between mother-child/father-child close relationships and adolescents’ emotion regulation. Sex differences were also considered in the analysis. The sample of 270 Zambian, 216 Argentinian, 200 Ghanaian, and 180 Indian adolescents answered The Experience in Close Relationship Questionnaire and the Emotional Regulation Questionnaire. Results revealed cultural differences in the way adolescents perceived their relations with parents. Zambian adolescents were more likely to perceive their relationship as avoidant compared to Ghanaian, Argentina and Indian. Consistent with literature, Zambian and Argentinian adolescents who perceived their parents as avoidant were likely to use less cognitive appraisal as an emotion regulation strategy. Finally, Argentinian adolescents who used expressive suppression were also likely to perceive their parents as avoidant.
  • Article
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    The present article aims to provide a comprehensive review of the impact of new technology on parent-child relationships. It appears that new technology is introduced in homes as early as child conception, and that it assists parents in their child-rearing activities, serving as a source of support, sitting the children, or enabling communication when apart from them. However, the use of new technology can reveal relational difficulties and become a problem as children come to develop problematic use, at least from their parents’ point of view. By changing the notions of presence and absence, new technology can reveal underlying family dynamics. These dynamics, rather than new technology per se, will play a determining role in the vicissitudes of the relationship in the context of a digital world. Le présent article vise à établir un état des lieux sur la question de l’incidence des nouvelles technologies sur la relation parent-enfant. C’est ainsi qu’on voit que celles-ci pénètrent le domicile familial dès la conception de l’enfant, qu’elles accompagnent les parents dans l’éducation de ce dernier, en servant de source de soutien, d’écran-sitter ou même de siège de la communication en cas d’éloignement. L’usage de ces technologies peut toutefois être symptomatique de difficultés relationnelles et devenir un véritable problème à mesure que l’enfant en arrive à ne plus pouvoir s’en passer, du moins aux yeux de ses parents. Les nouvelles technologies, en modifiant les notions d’absence et de présence, semblent révéler les problématiques familiales sous-jacentes. Ce sont ces dernières, plus que les technologies en elles-mêmes, qui semblent déterminer les aléas de la relation à l’ère du numérique.
  • Article
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    The objective of the present article is to describe and compare empirical literature that investigates the relation between attachment and self-regulation in childhood. The analysis demonstrates that the methodological design and measurement technique used to evaluate both attachment and self-regulation have a significant affect on the results obtained. The time lapse between measurements affects results in longitudinal studies of behavioral self-regulation, and the method used to evaluate attachment affects the results in studies of emotional self-regulation. Despite the fact that the research analyzed is consistent in describing a relationship between attachment patterns and the use of certain emotional regulation strategies, there is no consistency in research on the relationship between attachment and emotionality. This literature review provides a warning on how methodological designs affect research results and suggests incorporating an holistic conception of self-regulation in future research.
  • Article
    This meta-analysis evaluated the psychometric properties of the Security Scale (SS; k = 57 studies), a measure specifically designed to assess attachment in middle childhood, using several criteria: stability over time, associations with other attachment measures, relations with caregiver sensitivity, and associations with theoretically driven outcomes. The SS demonstrated moderate stability and meaningful associations with other attachment measures and caregiver sensitivity. Furthermore, the SS showed significant associations with developmental correlates of attachment: school adaptation, emotional and peer social competence, self-esteem, and behavioral problem. Some effect sizes varied as a function of socioeconomic status (SES; peer social competence and maladjustment) and publication status (emotional competence, peer social competence, and self-esteem). The association between the SS and our constructs of interest were, for the most part, independent of geographical location and child gender or age. Overall, findings suggest that the SS is a robust measure of attachment in middle childhood and early adolescence.
  • Article
    Recent research has found that emotional dysregulation is a transdiagnostic feature across a range of common mental health difficulties and within the general population. However, existing treatment for emotional dysregulation is typically long-term, intensive or focused on personality constructs. The aims of this paper are to (1) present a transdiagnostic cognitive model of emotional dysregulation (2) present a short-term cognitive behavioural therapy intervention for mild-to-moderate presentations of emotional dysregulation.
  • Article
    The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between prosocial behavior and family environment variables (attachment to the mother and father and abandonment by the mother and father), personal variables (emotional instability, aggression, and coping strategies), and variables that relate to the immediate social environment (peer ac-ceptance and rejection). This study also examined the predictors of prosocial behavior. Prosocial behavior is a personal protective factor that encourages positive relationships between peers and promotes personal and social adjustment behaviors (Mikolajewski, Chavarria, Moltisanti, Hart & Taylor, 2014). A study with a sample of 1,447 children (50.4% male and 49.6% female) aged between 7 and 12 years (M = 9.27; SD = 1.36) was conducted. The results confirmed the positive relationships between pro-social behavior and parental attachment, functional coping, and peer acceptance. The results also confirmed the negative relationships between prosocial behavior and abandonment by the parents, emotional instability, aggression, dysfunctional coping, and peer rejection. The positive predictor variables for prosocial behavior were attachment to the mother, functional coping, and expectations of peer acceptance. The negative predictor variables for prosocial behavior were emotional instability, physical and verbal aggression, and expectations of peer rejection. The findings have educational implications, which are discussed herein.
  • Article
    Given the developmental importance of parental roles in early adolescence, research in the etiology of adolescents’ life satisfaction begins at the family level. Therefore, this study investigates whether inconsistent parenting influences young adolescents’ life satisfaction through the mediating roles of other individual-related variables, including self-esteem and behavioral regulation, for male and female adolescents. Data were extracted from the Korean Child Youth Panel Survey (KCYPS), which is a longitudinal panel study of 1802 middle school students in South Korea. This study demonstrated that the relationship between inconsistent parenting and life satisfaction was mediated by self-esteem in both gender groups and by behavioral regulation only in the male group. It also showed evidence of serial mediation when the paths included behavioral regulation as a distal mediator in male adolescents. The findings of the study support that negative cognitive schema partially formed by inconsistent maternal parenting predisposes an adolescent to negative self-evaluation and emotions, leading to dissatisfaction with their lives.
  • Article
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    According to theory, maternal sensitivity should be associated with attachment security in middle childhood. We measure two aspects of maternal sensitivity—affective understanding , a component of parental mentalization, and affective synchrony, a component of parental empathy. We tested our hypotheses within a diverse sample of school-aged children (48.6% female, M age ¼ 10.27, SD age ¼ 1.09) and their mothers (N ¼ 112 dyads) at baseline and after a standardized laboratory-based stressor in which children worked on unsolvable puzzles while their mothers watched. Results revealed no significant associations at baseline, but lower maternal attachment avoidance and greater child attachment security were associated with greater affective understanding and greater affective synchrony after the stressor task.
  • Article
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    ABSTRACT—Developmental research on emotion regulation is increasingly advancing toward a systems view that integrates behavioral and biological constituents of emotional self-control. However, this view poses fundamental challenges to prevailing conceptualizations of emotion regulation. In portraying emotion regulation as a network of multilevel processes characterized by feedback and interaction between higher and lower systems, it becomes increasingly apparent that emotion regulation is a component of (rather than a response to) emotional activation, that it derives from the mutual influence of multiple emotion-related systems (rather than the maturation of higher control processes alone), and that it sometimes contributes to maladaptive behavioral outcomes, especially in conditions of environmental adversity. The implications of this perspective for the developmental study of emotion regulation are discussed.
  • Chapter
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    Book synopsis: From foremost authorities, this comprehensive work is more than just the standard reference on attachment-it has "become indispensable" in the field. Coverage includes the origins and development of attachment theory; biological and evolutionary perspectives; and the role of attachment processes in personality, relationships, and mental health across the lifespan. The second edition has been substantially revised and expanded to incorporate significant recent advances in theory, research, and clinical applications.
  • Article
    We examined the link between attachment style and psychological distress of adolescents in conflict with their mothers through pathways of cognition, emotion, and coping strategies. Participants were 613 eighth graders from northern Taiwan. Results of structural equation modeling indicated that the relationship between secure versus insecure attachment and psychological distress was mediated by avoidance and approach coping. There was a direct path from secure and dismissive attachment styles to avoidance coping as well as approach coping and secure and dismissive attachment styles were not linked to negative emotion and threat appraisal. There was a direct path from preoccupied and fearful attachment styles to approach coping and an indirect path to avoidance coping via negative emotion. Threat appraisal acted as a mediator between preoccupied attachment and psychological distress.
  • Article
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    This study examined whether the relation of mother–child attachment with anxiety symptoms is mediated by emotion regulation (ER) processes (poor emotional awareness, biased interpretations of emotionally charged events, and coping strategies). Attachment patterns were assessed in a sample of eighty‐seven 10‐ to 12‐year‐olds using story‐stem interviews. Children who were less secure and more disorganized reported more anxiety. Attachment was also related to ER; security was associated with less difficulty identifying emotions, and disorganization was associated with more catastrophizing interpretations and less active coping. Anxiety symptoms were related to all three ER processes. Finally, relations of security or disorganization with anxiety symptoms were partially mediated by ER processes.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    The aim of the present study was to examine differences in emotion expression and emotion regulation in emotion-eliciting situations in early adolescence from a bio-psycho-social perspective, specifically investigating the influence of early mother-infant attachment and attachment disorganization on behavioral and adrenocortical responses. The sample consisted of 96 children of the Regensburg Longitudinal Study IV. At 12 months, attachment security and disorganization were assessed in the Strange Situation. At 12 years the adolescents were observed together with their mother during a computer game (eliciting anger) and the “Talk Show Task” (eliciting fear). Analyses included self-ratings and motherratings of the adolescents’ emotions (anger and fear), observations of the adolescents’ emotional expression and emotional regulation (social regulation, effective regulation) as well as concurrent maternal emotional support. In addition, adrenocortical activity was assessed from saliva samples before and after observation. The findings revealed different patterns of social-emotional responses depending on early attachment security. Adolescents with an early secure attachment expressed reported more anger, when anger was induced, were rated as less anxious by their mothers and their emotion self-ratings were more similar to their mothers’ ratings compared to adolescents with an early insecure attachment. An increased adrenocortical response was only found in the group of adolescents with attachment disorganization in infancy, especially with increased fear.
  • Article
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    A central tenet of Bowlby's attachment theory is that early child-caregiver attachment is reflected in the quality of the child's interpersonal relationships throughout life. Schneider, Atkinson, and Tardif (2001) conducted a meta-analysis of studies conducted up to 1998 to corroborate that contention. They found a significant but small to moderate effect size (r = .20). Their finding that studies of friendship bonds had higher effect sizes than studies of other interpersonal relationships has important theoretical ramifications. The present brief report is a meta-analysis that covers research conducted for the same purpose since 1998. The sample consists of 44 studies with a total of 8505 participants. The overall effect size r of .19 (adjusted r = .12; 95% confidence interval, .08-.17) in the current study was similar in magnitude to the effect size reported in the 2001 meta-analysis, documenting consistency in the predictive power of attachment theory. However, we failed to replicate the moderating effect of friendship. One possible explanation for these findings is that the friendships of school-age children and adolescents no longer invoke very high levels of intimacy. Effect sizes are higher in studies conducted outside North America than in U.S.- and Canada-based studies. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved).
  • Article
    Full-text available
    This study examined whether emotions and coping explain (mediate) the association between mother-child attachment and peer relationships. Attachment, positive and negative emotion experience, coping, and peer relationships were examined in 106 fourth-grade through sixth-grade girls attending a 6-day residential camp. Attachment, experience of positive and negative emotions, and coping were measured prior to camp with questionnaires completed by girls and their mothers. Girls reported the quality of their best friendship at camp, and camp counselors rated girls' peer competence. Girls who perceived a more secure attachment to mother reported experiencing more positive and less negative emotions, were reported by mothers to use more social-support coping, reported more positive qualities in camp best friendships, and were rated by counselors as having enhanced peer relationships at camp. Further, the experience of positive emotions, problem-solving coping, and social-support coping mediated the links between attachment and peer relationships.
  • Article
    Reunion behavior following stressful separations from caregivers is often considered the single most sensitive clue to infant attachment patterns. Extending these ideas to middle childhood/early adolescence, we examined participants' neural responses to reunion with peers who had previously excluded them. We recorded event-related potentials among nineteen 11- to 15-year-old youth previously classified on attachment interviews (11 secure and 8 insecure-dismissing) while they played a virtual ball-toss game (Cyberball) with peers that involved fair play, exclusion and reunion phases. Compared to secure participants, dismissing participants displayed a greater increment in the N2 during reunion relative to fair play, a neural marker commonly linked to expectancy violation. These data suggest a greater tendency toward continued expectations of rejection among dismissing children, even after cessation of social exclusion. In turn, the link between self-reported ostracism distress and neural signs of negative expectancy at reunion was moderated by attachment, such that self-reports were discordant with the neural index of expectancy violation for dismissing, but not for secure children. A video abstract of this article can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qzoRel5c-4s.
  • Article
    Emerging evidence suggests that as with adults, dismissing children underreport their psychological distress relative to physiological indicators of their experience (startle response, neural signals). In this report, we extend these observations to neuroendocrine reactivity. One hundred and six 8-12-year-old children completed the Child Attachment Interview and a computer-based paradigm comprised of vignettes reflecting vulnerability in interpersonal contexts. Dismissing children's cortisol responses remained comparable from pre-to-post paradigm, while secure children's cortisol responses decreased from pre-to-post paradigm. Furthermore, compared to secure children, dismissing children reported less distress than their cortisol response would suggest. Implications for dismissing children's coping and self-regulation are discussed. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Dev Psychobiol.
  • Article
    Among juvenile status offenses, truancy represents the largest share of juvenile court caseloads. As a marker of risk, truancy is important because of its associations with school disengagement, drop-out, and developmental trajectories that include various forms of delinquency and anti-social behavior. Better understanding of the developmental circumstances and needs of truant children may point the way to more effective intervention strategies. Much accumulated research has shown strong associations between the emergence of juvenile delinquency and qualities of caregiving in parent–child relationships. Child-parent attachment in particular has been identified as an important developmental foundation of the child-parent relationship. We used a multi-informant approach to examine associations between children’s self-reported perceptions of attachment security (using the Security Scales), their emotion regulation (reported by parents on the Emotion Regulation Checklist), and school-related behavior problems (as reported by teachers with the Child Behavior Checklist), among 74 elementary school-aged truant children (mean age 9 years). Children and families were recruited through a truancy intervention program in a state in the deep South in the U.S. Data were analyzed via hierarchical multiple regression. Parents’ reports of their children’s emotion regulation predicted behavior problems as reported by teachers. Children’s own reports of their emotional bonds with parents were somewhat less predictive of emotion regulation and behavior problems. Implications for truancy intervention programs for high-risk elementary school children include more focused attention to the importance of children’s developing capacities for emotion regulation and the child-parent bond.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    This study looks at adolescents’ emotion regulation patterns during a joint problem-solving situation with a friend, based on data from a longitudinal study. Specifically concurrent attachment representation, as assessed by the Adult Attachment Interview and earlier infant-father and infant-mother attachment patterns, as assessed by the strange situation procedure are used as predictors. A total of 41 adolescents participated in a complex problem-solving situation with their friends and were videotaped during their work. Emotional expression and cooperative and uncooperative, disruptive behaviour were assessed from the videotapes. Each participant completed an emotion self-rating during the task. The results show that the concordance between the two levels of assessment of emotion relates to attachment representation for the emotions sadness and anger. Depending on the intensity of specific emotions, adolescents with insecure attachment representations showed more disruptive behaviours towards their friend. This was also true for adolescents with insecure infant-father attachment patterns. The findings suggest that attachment organisation in adolescence and infancy influences the balance between autonomous and cooperative problem solving between friends.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    This study was intended to examine the relationship among children’s emotionality, parental meta-emotion, and parent–child attachment. The sample consisted of 546 5th and 6th grade children and their mothers. The test instruments used in this study were the Emotionality subscale of the EAS Temperament Survey (mothers’ ratings only), the Parental Meta-Emotion Survey (mothers’ ratings only) and the Attachment Security Scale (children’s ratings only). Our results showed that maternal meta-emotion (emotion coaching plus emotion dismissing) was associated with children’s attachment security vis-à-vis their mothers. Mothers who tended to adopt an emotion-coaching philosophy were more likely to achieve secure parent–child attachments, as reported by their children. Children whose mothers tended to adopt an emotion-dismissing philosophy reported lower levels of attachment security. There were no direct or indirect effects of children’s emotionality on their attachment security. Parental meta-emotion, but not children’s emotionality, was significantly associated with children’s attachment security. The results indicate the importance of parenting factors in determining the parent–child relationship. Parental education programs that focus on parental attitudes and practices related to emotion should be advocated.
  • Article
    This research applies the emotion regulation (ER) model of attachment to the regulation of specific emotions, namely sadness and anger, in early adolescents. The study investigates how attachment and accompanying ER strategies relate to both internalizing and externalizing problems. Two separate cross-sectional studies (N = 197 and N = 310) supported different associations between attachment and ER (i.e., dysregulation and suppression). For attachment avoidance, associations with ER strategies seem to depend on the specific type of emotion involved, whereas attachment anxiety related to dysregulation irrespective of the type of emotions. Furthermore, Study 2 found that attachment anxiety and avoidance are associated with internalizing and externalizing problems via different ER strategies. Discussion focuses on the dynamics involved in associations between attachment, ER, and psychological problems.
  • Article
    This research examines differential associations between attachment dimensions (anxiety and avoidance) and emotion regulation (ER) strategies (dysregulation and suppression) in middle childhood and early adolescence. Furthermore, the study investigates how attachment and ER relate to depressive symptoms and perceived parenting. Two cross-sectional studies (N = 339 and N = 746) supported the hypothesized associations between attachment anxiety and avoidance and emotional dysregulation and suppression, respectively. Mixed evidence was found for ER as a mediator in associations between attachment and depressive symptoms. Study 2 found that parental responsiveness and autonomy-support are related differentially to the attachment dimensions. The Discussion focuses on the dynamics involved in associations between parenting, attachment, ER, and depression and on directions for future research.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    This longitudinal study tested whether associations between early attachment history and temperament and later anxiety symptoms are direct, or are indirect and explained by children's competencies in regulating emotions and relating to peers. Attachment patterns (secure, avoidant, preoccupied, disorganized) were assessed at 15 and 36 months, and temperament (negative emotionality-NE, Shyness) was assessed at 54 months. Peer competence (PC) and the ability to manage intense emotions were assessed at early school age, and anxiety symptoms in preadolescence. Both attachment history and temperament predicted anxiety. PC mediated the relations of security and disorganization with anxiety, and the ability to manage intense emotions mediated the relation between security and anxiety. PC also mediated the relations of NE and shyness with anxiety, and the ability to manage intense emotions mediated the relation of NE with anxiety. The findings highlight specific mechanisms that may contribute to the development of anxiety.
  • Article
    Examines the relationship between emotion regulation and externalizing disorders in children and adolescents. Although externalizing disorders have traditionally been conceptualized as problems of behavior and cognition rather than affect, these conditions are inextricably tied in with emotional processes, and emotion and emotion regulation would appear to be centrally involved in such conditions. As we emphasize throughout this chapter, it is crucial to consider specific forms of the relevant behavior patterns when examining emotional and emotion regulatory processes, as it increasingly appears that deficits in emotion regulation are relevant to some but not all forms of externalizing behavior. Because global portrayals of externalizing behavior as indicative of emotion dysregulation may obscure rather than clarify important associations, we emphasize specificity of linkages to the extent allowed by the current literature. Topics include: models of emotional regulation and relations with psychopathology (emotion regulation: definitions and differentiations, externalizing psychopathology: dimensional and categorical perspectives), emotion regulation and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, emotion regulation and conduct problems/aggression, and future directions. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
  • Article
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    Research on parent–child attachment and parental child rearing practices has been pursued independently. The purpose of the present study was to test whether a secure attachment relationship is related to parental monitoring and child efforts to contribute to the monitoring process. This question was examined in a cross-sectional study of third- and sixth-grade children and their parents. Attachment-based measures were used to tap child and parent perceptions of attachment. Monitoring (i.e., parents' awareness of children's whereabouts and activities) was assessed through phone interviews with children and parents. Child contributions to monitoring were assessed with parent and child questionnaires. A more secure attachment was related to closer monitoring and greater cooperation by the child in monitoring situations, especially at sixth grade. The findings illustrate the importance of embedding attachment within a larger child rearing context. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
  • Article
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    In middle childhood, boys show more avoidant attachments and girls more ambivalent attachments as a prelude to gender differentiation in reproductive strategies. However, we have failed to find systematic and method-independent gender differences in middle or late childhood attachments, nor in adult attachment representations. We conclude that Del Giudice's model rests on a brittle empirical basis.
  • Article
    Addressing a gap in process-oriented understanding of relations between marital con-flict and children's adjustment, propositions of the emotional security hypothesis from a family-wide perspective were tested in a longitudinal research design. Participants were 181 families and their 11–12 year-old-child (115 boys, 76 girls) living in Wales, in the United Kingdom. Relations between marital conflict, children's emotional secu-rity about marital conflict and parenting, respectively, and children's adjustment were assessed based on reports by mothers, fathers, and children and videotaped analogue procedures completed by children. Structural equation modelling indicated that chil-dren's emotional security about interparental conflict (emotional regulation, cognitive representations and behavioural regulation) mediated the relation between marital conflict and children's security about parenting. Processes pertaining to children's security in multiple family systems (i.e., interparental and parent–child) provided an indirect mechanism through which interparental conflict affected children's symptoms of psychological distress (internalising and externalising problems) assessed 12 months later. Future directions for further tests of comprehensive, theoretically based models for the effects of marital conflict on children are discussed.
  • Article
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    The study investigated the relationship between patterns of attachment and emotional competence at the beginning of middle childhood in a sample of 122 seven-year-olds. A new battery of tasks was developed in order to assess two facets of emotional competence (emotion recognition and knowledge of regulation strategies). Attachment was related to the choice of emotion regulation strategies in hypothetical situations; secure children produced the highest frequency of cognitive engagement strategies (e.g., reappraisal), and disorganized children the lowest. Insecure children produced more behavioral engagement strategies and fewer behavioral diversion ones. There was a minor effect of attachment on emotion recognition, with disorganized children scoring lower in the discrimination of facial expression. Consistent sex differences were also apparent in the direction of a female advantage in emotional competence: Girls scored higher in emotion recognition than boys, and in the regulation knowledge task, they produced fewer helpless answers and more cognitive engagement strategies.
  • Article
    This study examined whether emotions and coping explain (mediate) the association between mother-child attachment and peer relationships. Attachment, positive and negative emotion experience, coping, and peer relationships were examined in 106 fourth-grade through sixth-grade girls attending a 6-day residential camp. Attachment, experience of positive and negative emotions, and coping were measured prior to camp with questionnaires completed by girls and their mothers. Girls reported the quality of their best friendship at camp, and camp counselors rated girls’ peer competence. Girls who perceived a more secure attachment to mother reported experiencing more positive and less negative emotions, were reported by mothers to use more social-support coping, reported more positive qualities in camp best friendships, and were rated by counselors as having enhanced peer relationships at camp. Further, the experience of positive emotions, problem-solving coping, and social-support coping mediated the links between attachment and peer relationships.
  • Article
    The theory of attachment as a secure-base relationship integrates insights about affect, cognition, and behavior in close relationships across age and culture. Empirical successes based on this theory include important discoveries about the nature of infant–caregiver and adult–adult close relationships, the importance of early experience, and about stability and change in individual differences. The task now is to preserve these insights and successes and build on them. To accomplish this, we need to continually examine the logic and coherence of attachment theory and redress errors of emphasis and analysis. Views on attachment development, attachment representation, and attachment in family and cross-cultural perspective need to be updated in light of empirical research and advances in developmental theory, behavioral biology, and cognitive psychology. We also need to challenge the theory by formulating and testing hypotheses which, if not confirmed, would require significant changes to the theory. If we can accomplish these tasks, prospects for important developments in attachment theory and research are greater than ever, as are the prospects for integration with other disciplines.
  • Article
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    The tendency to perceive caregivers in highly positive terms and to perceive the self as strong and problem-free are two facets of the positive bias characteristic of a dismissing attachment classification in adulthood. However, this link has not yet been examined in children. We evaluated the association between dismissing attachment and positive bias in school-aged children's reports of their own emotional experience and their parental care, hypothesizing that: (1) compared to secure children, dismissing children would underreport their subjective distress relative to physiological indicators of distress, and (2) dismissing children would report that their parents were warmer/more caring than would secure children. Ninety-seven children between the ages of 8 and 12 completed the Child Attachment Interview, reports of maternal and paternal care, and a psychophysiological threat paradigm. Compared to secure children, dismissing children reported less distress than their startle responses during threat would suggest. In other words, dismissing children showed a greater divergence between subjective and physiological emotional response. Dismissing children rated their parents as warmer and more caring as compared to secure children's ratings. Results provide support for the association between dismissing attachment and inflated positivity on child-report measures of parental care and emotional experience. Implications of the study's findings for attachment theory are discussed.
  • Article
    Although there is strong evidence for the effect of interparental conflict on adolescents' internalizing and externalizing problems, little is known about the effect on the quality of adolescents' relationships. The current study investigates the link between adolescents' friendships and interparental conflict as reported by both parents and adolescents. It considers early adolescents' emotion regulation ability and attachment security as mediators. The analysis is based on a longitudinal study with two waves separated by 12 months. The participants were 180 two-parent families and their adolescent children (50.5 % girls), the average age of the latter being 10.61 years (SD = 0.41) at the outset (Time 1). Binomial logistic regression analysis revealed that perceived interparental conflict increased the risk of instability in friendship relationships across the 1-year period. Structural equation modeling analysis indicated that the association between perceived interparental conflict and friendship quality was mediated by emotion regulation and attachment security. The discussion focuses on mechanisms whereby interparental conflict influences early adolescents' friendship relationships.
  • Article
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    Attachment representations are thought to provide a cognitive-affective template, guiding the way individuals interact with unfamiliar social partners. To examine the neural correlates of this process, we sampled event-related potentials (ERPs) during exclusion by unfamiliar peers to differentiate insecure-dismissing from securely attached youth, as indexed by the child attachment interview. Thirteen secure and 10 dismissing 11- to 15-year-olds were ostensibly connected with two peers via the Internet to play a computerized ball-toss game. Actually, peers were computer generated, first distributing the ball evenly, but eventually excluding participants. Afterward children rated their distress. As in previous studies, distress was related to a negative left frontal slow wave (500-900 ms) during rejection, a waveform implicated in negative appraisals and less approach motivation. Though attachment classifications were comparable in frontal ERPs and distress, an attachment-related dismissal dimension predicted a negative left frontal slow wave during rejection, suggesting that high dismissal potentially involves elevated anticipation of rejection. As expected, dismissal and self-reported distress were uncorrelated. Yet, a new approach to quantifying the dissociation between self-reports and rejection-related ERPs revealed that dismissal predicted underreporting of distress relative to ERPs. Our findings imply that evaluations and regulatory strategies linked to attachment generalize to distressing social contexts in early adolescence.
  • Article
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    Attachment theory was conceptualized by Bowlby as relevant across the life span, from 'cradle to grave'. The research literature on attachment in infants and preschool-aged children is extensive, but it is limited in adolescence. In particular, it is unclear whether or not attachment security is distinguishable from other qualities of the parent-adolescent relationship and predicts adjustment independently of alternate measures of it. Data from three parallel studies of adolescents, representing normal- to high-risk status, were combined, n = 248. Attachment was assessed using the Child Attachment Interview, a recently constructed measure designed for older children and adolescents. Parent-adolescent relationship quality was assessed in detail through questionnaires, interviews and observation of a standard problem-solving interaction. Adolescent adjustment was assessed through parental psychiatric interview, teacher questionnaire and adolescent self-report. Bivariate analyses showed that secure attachment representations were modestly associated with diverse measures of the current parent-adolescent relationship such as monitoring, negative expressed emotion, and directly observed parental warmth and anger. In addition, attachment representations were reliably associated with key indicators of psychological adjustment in adolescence, including parent-rated oppositional-defiant disorder symptoms and teacher-reported emotional and behavioural difficulties. Regression analyses revealed that secure attachment representations explained unique variance in these indicators of adjustment, independent of alternative measures of the parent-adolescent relationship. Adolescents' representational models of attachment are related to but distinct from current parenting quality and provide unique insight into the understanding of behavioural adjustment. The findings support a distinct conceptual role of attachment representations in adolescence. Clinical assessment and treatment models should include attachment patterns in this age group.
  • Article
    Because the ability to flexibly experience and appropriately express emotions across a range of developmentally relevant contexts is crucial to adaptive functioning, we examined how adolescent attachment security may be related to more functional emotional behavior during a relationship promoting interaction task. Data were collected from 74 early adolescent girls (Mean age 13.45 years; SD = 0.68; 89% Caucasian) and their primary caregiver. Results indicated that, regardless of the parent's interaction behavior and the level of stress in the parent-adolescent relationship, greater adolescent security was associated with more positive and less negative behavioral displays, including greater positivity, greater coherence of verbal content and affect, less embarrassment, and less emotional dysregulation in response to a situational demand for establishing intimacy with the parent. Implications for encouraging and fostering adolescents' capacity to respond to interpersonal contexts in ways that promote the relationship are discussed.
  • Article
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    One of the primary functions of the attachment behavioral system is to regulate emotional experience under conditions of threat. Although research supports this association among infants and adults, few studies examine the relation between emotion and attachment in middle childhood. This study examined the concurrent associations among children's attachment organization and three indices of emotion reactivity/regulation: self- and parent-assessments of emotion, neuroendocrine reactivity, and fear-potentiated startle response. Ninety-seven 8- to 12-year-old children completed the Child Attachment Interview (CAI) and a fear-potentiated startle paradigm on separate occasions, with salivary cortisol assessed before and after each assessment. Greater attachment security was related to greater child-reported positive trait- and state-level emotion, lower pre-CAI cortisol levels, higher initial startle magnitude during threat, and a faster decrease in startle magnitude during threat. The findings provide initial support that attachment security is related to select measures of emotion, though different methods of assessment yielded discrepant findings. The findings are discussed in terms of their contribution to theory and research examining attachment and emotion.
  • This chapter provides a review of the literature that examines the role of mothers and fathers in socializing emotion in their sons and daughters during adolescence. Within the context of this chapter, we focus on mother-father similarities, differences, and coordinated efforts in socializing the emotion of their adolescent children. Empirical data is presented that provides new evidence about the coordinated efforts of parents and its implications for the development of adolescent psychopathology. The authors emphasize the importance of both adolescent emotion capabilities and the role mothers and fathers play in supporting or deterring healthy emotional development in adolescence.
  • Preschoolers' socialization of emotion and its contribution to emotional competence is likely to be highly gendered. In their work, the authors have found that mothers often take on the role of emotional gatekeeper in the family, and fathers act as loving playmates, but that parents' styles of socialization of emotion do not usually differ for sons and daughters. They also found several themes in the prediction of preschoolers' emotion knowledge and regulation. For example, sometimes mother-father differences in emotional style actually seem to promote such competence, and girls seem particularly susceptible to parental socialization of emotion.
  • Article
    This study addresses the extent to which insecure and disorganized attachments increase risk for externalizing problems using meta-analysis. From 69 samples (N = 5,947), the association between insecurity and externalizing problems was significant, d = 0.31 (95% CI: 0.23, 0.40). Larger effects were found for boys (d = 0.35), clinical samples (d = 0.49), and from observation-based outcome assessments (d = 0.58). Larger effects were found for attachment assessments other than the Strange Situation. Overall, disorganized children appeared at elevated risk (d = 0.34, 95% CI: 0.18, 0.50), with weaker effects for avoidance (d = 0.12, 95% CI: 0.03, 0.21) and resistance (d = 0.11, 95% CI: -0.04, 0.26). The results are discussed in terms of the potential significance of attachment for mental health.
  • Article
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    The current study examined coping strategies as mediators of the relation between maternal attachment and depressive symptoms in a sample of urban youth. Participants included 393 adolescents (M age = 12.03, SD = .85) participating in a larger study of the impact of stressful life experiences on low-income urban youth. Participants completed self-report measures of maternal attachment, coping strategies, and depressive symptoms at two time points. Results indicated that attachment was not a significant predictor of depression over time. Path analyses demonstrated limited support for a model in which higher maternal attachment predicted higher active coping, which in turn predicted fewer depressive symptoms at Time 2. Maternal attachment was a significant predictor of higher support-seeking coping, avoidant, and distraction coping. Higher maternal attachment predicted greater use of active coping strategies for boys but not for girls, and greater use of active coping strategies predicted fewer depressive symptoms for girls but not for boys.
  • Article
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    The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the theory and evidence for the links of parent-child attachment with internalizing problems in childhood and adolescence. We address three key questions: (a) how consistent is the evidence that attachment security or insecurity is linked to internalizing symptoms, anxiety, and depression? (b) How consistent is the evidence that specific forms of insecurity are more strongly related to internalizing symptoms, anxiety, and depression than are other forms of insecurity? (c) Are associations with internalizing symptoms, anxiety, and depression consistent for mother-child and father-child attachment? The current findings are consistent with the hypothesis that insecure attachment is associated with the development of internalizing problems. The links between specific insecure attachment patterns and internalizing problems are difficult to evaluate. Father-child and mother-child attachments have a comparable impact, although there are relatively few studies of father-child attachment. No moderators consistently affect these relations. We also propose two models of how attachment insecurity may combine with other factors to lead to anxiety or depression.
  • Article
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    Peer victimization experiences represent developmentally salient stressors among adolescents and are associated with the development of internalizing symptoms. However, the mechanisms linking peer victimization to adolescent psychopathology remain inadequately understood. This study examined emotion dysregulation as a mechanism linking peer stress to changes in internalizing symptoms among adolescents in a longitudinal design. Peer victimization was assessed with the Revised Peer Experiences Questionnaire (M. J. Prinstein, J. Boergers, & E. M. Vernberg, 2001) in a large (N = 1,065), racially diverse (86.6% non-White) sample of adolescents 11-14 years of age. Emotion dysregulation and symptoms of depression and anxiety were also assessed. Structural equation modeling was used to create a latent construct of emotion dysregulation from measures of discrete emotion processes and of peer victimization and internalizing symptoms. Peer victimization was associated with increased emotion dysregulation over a 4-month period. Increases in emotion dysregulation mediated the relationship between relational and reputational, but not overt, victimization and changes in internalizing symptoms over a 7-month period. Evidence for a reciprocal relationship between internalizing symptoms and relational victimization was found, but emotion dysregulation did not mediate this relationship. The implications for preventive interventions are discussed.
  • Article
    The stress response system is comprised of an intricate interconnected network that includes the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis. The HPA axis maintains the organism's capacity to respond to acute and prolonged stressors and is a focus of research on the sequelae of stress. Human studies of the HPA system have been facilitated enormously by the development of salivary assays which measure cortisol, the steroid end-product of the HPA axis. The use of salivary cortisol is prevalent in child development stress research. However, in order to measure children's acute cortisol reactivity to circumscribed stressors, researchers must put children in stressful situations which produce elevated levels of cortisol. Unfortunately, many studies on the cortisol stress response in children use paradigms that fail to produce mean elevations in cortisol. This paper reviews stressor paradigms used with infants, children, and adolescents to guide researchers in selecting effective stressor tasks. A number of different types of stressor paradigms were examined, including: public speaking, negative emotion, relationship disruption/threatening, novelty, handling, and mild pain paradigms. With development, marked changes are evident in the effectiveness of the same stressor paradigm to provoke elevations in cortisol. Several factors appear to be critical in determining whether a stressor paradigm is successful, including the availability of coping resources and the extent to which, in older children, the task threatens the social self. A consideration of these issues is needed to promote the implementation of more effective stressor paradigms in human developmental psychoendocrine research.
  • Article
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    This target article presents an integrated evolutionary model of the development of attachment and human reproductive strategies. It is argued that sex differences in attachment emerge in middle childhood, have adaptive significance in both children and adults, and are part of sex-specific life history strategies. Early psychosocial stress and insecure attachment act as cues of environmental risk, and tend to switch development towards reproductive strategies favoring current reproduction and higher mating effort. However, due to sex differences in life history trade-offs between mating and parenting, insecure males tend to adopt avoidant strategies, whereas insecure females tend to adopt anxious/ambivalent strategies, which maximize investment from kin and mates. Females are expected to shift to avoidant patterns when environmental risk is more severe. Avoidant and ambivalent attachment patterns also have different adaptive values for boys and girls, in the context of same-sex competition in the peer group: in particular, the competitive and aggressive traits related to avoidant attachment can be favored as a status-seeking strategy for males. Finally, adrenarche is proposed as the endocrine mechanism underlying the reorganization of attachment in middle childhood, and the implications for the relationship between attachment and sexual development are explored. Sex differences in the development of attachment can be fruitfully integrated within the broader framework of adaptive plasticity in life history strategies, thus contributing to a coherent evolutionary theory of human development.
  • Article
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    This paper reports on findings from a sample of 63 children at 6 years old, and 49 children at 11 years old, all from the same cohort who had been observed with mother in the Strange Situation at 1-year-old. At 6 and 11 years, the children responded to the task of providing verbal labels for line-drawn (caricatures of) emotion faces. The faces comprised the six basic emotions identified as such by Darwin (sadness, happiness, anger, fear, surprise, and disgust) as well as a neutral face and two more complex (blended) emotions (mischievousness and disappointment). Infant-mother attachment was linked significantly with children's emotion judgments 5 years and, to a lesser extent, 10 years after the Strange Situation assessment. Results are discussed in terms of the long-term but attenuating influence of early learning experiences in the relationship with mother, and implications for how we think about the functioning of internal working models of attachment.
  • Article
    This study explores the relation between variations in the serotonin transporter gene (5-HTTLPR; long vs. short allele), the child's attachment representation (assessed with the Attachment Story Completion Task, reflecting the security of the parent-child relationship), and electrodermal reactivity during a public speaking task, the Trier Social Stress Test for Children (TSST-C) in a sample of 92 7-year-old. Electrodermal reactivity during the TSST-C was not directly associated with variations in 5-HTT. However, there was a significant gene-environment interaction effect of 5-HTT and attachment security on electrodermal reactivity. Results are interpreted in terms of cumulative protection: Children with a secure attachment representation as well as long 5-HTT alleles appeared to be less stressed during the TSST-C.
  • Article
    Emotion regulation and quality of attachment are closely linked. It has been proposed here that one influence on individual differences in emotion regulation may be a child's attachment history. Individuals characterized by the flexible ability to accept and integrate both positive and negative emotions are generally securely attached; on the other hand, individuals characterized by either limited or heightened negative affect are more likely to be insecurely attached. While acknowledging the role of infant temperament, I have focused on the role of social factors in examining the link between emotion regulation and attachment. The approach to emotion regulation taken here--that emotion regulation is adaptive in helping a child attain her goals--is esentially a functionalist approach (Bretherton et al., 1986; Campos et al., 1983), consistent with earlier views of emotions as important regulators of interpersonal relationships (Charlesworth, 1982; Izard, 1977). It has been proposed that patterns of emotion regulation serve an important function for the infant: the function of maintaining the relationship with the attachment figure. Emotion regulation has been described as serving this function in two ways. First, the function of maintaining the relationship is thought to be served when infant emotion regulation contributes to the infant's more generalized regulation of the attachment system in response to experiences with the caregiver. Infants who have experienced rejection (insecure/avoidant infants) are thought to minimize negative affect in order to avoid the risk of further rejection. Infants whose mothers have been relatively unavailable or inconsistently available (insecure/ambivalent infants) are thought to maximize negative affect in order to increase the likelihood of gaining the attention of a frequently unavailable caregiver. Both these patterns of emotion regulation help ensure that the child will remain close to the parent and thereby be protected. Second, the function of maintaining the attachment relationship is thought to be served when the infant signals to the parent that she will cooperate in helping maintain the parent's own state of mind in relation to attachment. The minimizing of negative affect of the avoidant infant signals that the infant will not seek caregiving that would interfere with the parent's dismissal of attachment. The heightened negative emotionality of the ambivalent infant signals to the parent that the infant needs her and thus helps maintain a state of mind in which attachment is emphasized. The approach to emotion regulation presented here is congruent with much work examining the socialization of emotions (Lewis & Saarni, 1985; Thompson, 1990).
  • Article
    To foster the study of emotion regulation beyond infancy and toddlerhood, a new criterion Q-sort was constructed. In Study 1, Q-scales for emotion regulation and autonomy were developed, and analyses supported their discriminant validity. Study 2 further explored the construct validity of the Emotion Regulation Q-Scale within a sample of 143 maltreated and 80 impoverished children, aged 6 to 12 years. A multitrait-multimethod matrix and confirmatory factor analyses indicated impressive convergence among the Emotion Regulation Q-Scale and established measures of affect regulation. This new scale also was discriminable from measures of related constructs, including Q-sort assessments of ego resiliency. The use of this new measure was further supported by its ability to distinguish between maltreated and comparison children and between groups of well-regulated versus dysregulated children.
  • Article
    Although a link between attachment and peer relationships has been established, the mechanisms that account for this link have not been identified. The 1st goal of this study was to test emotion regulation as a mediator of this link in middle childhood. The 2nd goal was to examine how different aspects of emotion regulation relate to peer competence. Fifth graders completed self-report and semiprojective measures to index mother-child attachment, mothers reported on children's emotionality and coping strategies, and teachers reported on children's peer competence. Constructive coping was related to both attachment and peer competence, and mediated the association between attachment and peer competence, suggesting that emotion regulation is one of the mechanisms accounting for attachment-peer links. Constructive coping was more strongly associated with peer competence for children high on negative emotionality than for children low on negative emotionality.
  • Article
    Research on parent-child attachment and parental child rearing practices has been pursued independently. The purpose of the present study was to test whether a secure attachment relationship is related to parental monitoring and child efforts to contribute to the monitoring process. This question was examined in a cross-sectional study of third- and sixth-grade children and their parents. Attachment-based measures were used to tap child and parent perceptions of attachment. Monitoring (i.e., parents' awareness of children's whereabouts and activities) was assessed through phone interviews with children and parents. Child contributions to monitoring were assessed with parent and child questionnaires. A more secure attachment was related to closer monitoring and greater cooperation by the child in monitoring situations, especially at sixth grade. The findings illustrate the importance of embedding attachment within a larger child rearing context.
  • Article
    Cole, Martin, and Dennis (this issue) considered many important conceptual and methodological issues in their discussion of emotion regulation. Although it may be necessary to develop an integrated definition of the construct of emotion regulation, the definition provided in the Cole et al. article is too encompassing. It is important to differentiate emotion regulation from the effects of emotions on others and to differentiate among (a) regulation that stems from individuals external to the child versus behavior that is accomplished by the child, (b) behavior that is goal oriented versus unintentional, and (c) regulation that is voluntary versus behavior that is less voluntarily controlled. An alternate definition of emotion-related self-regulation is provided.
  • Article
    Emotion regulation has emerged as a popular topic, but there is doubt about its viability as a scientific construct. This article identifies conceptual and methodological challenges in this area of study and describes exemplar studies that provide a substantive basis for inferring emotion regulation. On the basis of those studies, 4 methods are described that provide compelling evidence for emotion regulation: independent measurement of activated emotion and purported regulatory processes; analysis of temporal relations; measurement across contrasting conditions; and multiple, convergent measures. By offering this perspective, this article aims to engage thoughtful debate and critical analysis, with the goal of increasing methodological rigor and advancing an understanding of emotion regulation as a scientific construct.
  • Article
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    The current meta-analysis examines the links between unresolved representations of attachment, anomalous parental behavior, and disorganized attachment relationships in 12 studies including 851 families. We found moderate effect sizes for the associations between unresolved states of mind and anomalous behavior (r = .26), unresolved states of mind and infant disorganized attachment relationships (r = .21), and anomalous behavior and disorganized attachment relationships (r = .34). Sample characteristics, observational context, and observational measure were not associated with differences in effect sizes. Only a small part of the association between unresolved states of mind and disorganized attachment relationships was explained by the mediation of anomalous parental behavior (.26* .34 = .09). Other factors yet to be uncovered must mediate the influence of unresolved states of mind on infant disorganized attachment; thus, further exploration of infant, parental, ecological, and genetic factors are warranted.