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Testing maternal depression and attachment style as moderators of early head start's effects on parenting

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This study examined maternal depression, attachment avoidance, and attachment anxiety as moderators of Early Head Start's effects on four parenting outcomes assessed at age three. Participants (N = 947) were drawn from six sites of the Early Head Start National Research and Evaluation Project, a multi-site randomized trial. Findings suggest more positive program effects for mothers with less initial attachment avoidance or attachment anxiety. First, baseline attachment avoidance moderated Early Head Start program effects on observed maternal supportiveness, such that program mothers with lower baseline attachment avoidance were rated as more supportive of their three-year-olds than program mothers with higher baseline attachment avoidance. Second, program effects on spanking varied depending on mothers' baseline attachment anxiety.
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Keywords: Early Head Start; attachment style; maternal depression; parenting

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Center for Child and Family Policy, Duke University, Durham, NC, USA 2: University of Arkansas, USA 3: Utah State University, USA 4: NPC Research, USA 5: University of Connecticut-Storrs, USA 6: University of Washington, USA

Publication date: January 1, 2011

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