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Quality of infant–parent attachment as reflected in infant interactive behaviour during instructional tasks

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Background: The quality of attachment of 127 Dutch 15-month-old infants to their primary caregivers was assessed using an abbreviated version of Ainsworth's Strange Situation. Methods: In addition, infant–parent interaction was observed during a 12-minute series of instructional tasks both at home and in a lab setting. Infants were rated for 1) negativity, 2) avoidance, 3) compliance, and 4) positive affect shown towards the caregiver. Results: At home, avoidant and disorganised infants showed significantly less compliance and significantly more avoidance and negative behaviour than securely attached children. At the lab, avoidant infants were significantly less compliant and more avoidant than secure infants, while disorganised infants distinguished themselves from secure children by significantly lower compliance and significantly higher negativity scores. The resistant infants did not distinguish themselves from the secure infants on any of the four behavioural scales. Conclusion: The results show brief observation of parent–infant interactions to yield valuable information on infant–parent attachment quality.
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Keywords: Attachment; infancy; parent–child interaction; parent–child relationships

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Publication date: March 1, 2002

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