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The vicissitudes of mother-infant relationships between birth and six years

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This study examined contributions of maternal sensitivity and maternal representation of childhood experiences to differences in attachment strategies in a cohort of infants from birth to six years. Antenatal maternal attachment representation was assessed with the Adult Attachment Interview. Maternal sensitivity was assessed with the Child-Adult Relationship Experimental Index at 15 months. The child's attachment strategy was classified with the Strange Situation for preschool children at 24-30 months and with a new representational measure at six years. Results indicate that mothers with a secure representation of the attachment system are more sensitive to their infants, and their children tend to develop secure attachment patterns. Changes in patterns of insecurity over time are discussed along with limitations of the study.

Keywords: adult attachment patterns; infancy; maternal sensitivity; mother-infant interactions; preschoolers; school age

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Curtin University of Technology, Australia

Publication date: January 1, 2009

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