The reflection of patterns of attachment in infancy in narratives of preschool children
This series of studies reports on the prospective and concurrent relation of attachment to a narrative based assessment of the five year old child's internal world. It relies on the exploration of a relatively new research measure designed to explore the internal world of the young child. No published studies have yet investigated the validity of this measure in relation to thoroughly tested measures of attachment patterns in infants and parents. Additionally, this study will investigate the independent contributions of mother and father. The first two chapters review the literature and introduce the instruments to be used. The initial chapter examines the theoretical points of view regarding the internal world and mental representations from the perspective of psychoanalytic, cognitive and attachment theory. It then discusses the move to a level of representation in attachment research that has made the current study possible. Chapter Two considers the history of the technique of doll play as a research tool and examines the scant research that has been published using the MacArthur Story Stem Battery. Chapter Three responds to a need for psychometric information regarding the MacArthur Story Stem Battery and the corresponding MacArthur Narrative Coding System by reporting on the construction of reliable and valid factors/scales. Subsequent chapters present these scales associations to demographic variables collected before the birth and during the infancy of the target children. Later chapters report on the longitudinal and concurrent associations between the scales with categories of infant-parent, child-parent and parental representations of attachment security and with parental assessments of child problem behaviours utilizing the reliable and validated Child Behaviour Checklist (CBCL). In addition, an attempt is made to construct theoretical profiles of secure and insecure children's responses to the story stem battery and to apply these profiles to the four groups of attachment patterns in the sample. The discussion focuses upon the creation of psychometrically valid scales relevant to important aspects of the child's internal world. It also concentrates upon discussing the confirmed and unconfirmed results of the application of these scales to this low-risk, non-clinical sample of the London Parent-Child Project.