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Title: Mother's attachment representation as a contextual determinant of children's mental health : a 16-year longitudinal study
Author: Corres, A. P.
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2006
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Research indicates inconsistent associations between early attachment patterns and later developmental outcomes. In light of these discrepancies, this study aimed to further investigate the matter by considering both mothers' attachment representations and early infant-mother attachment patterns, as antecedents of children's behaviour problems in early childhood, preadolescence, and adolescence. Specifically, this study tests the hypothesis that children's psychosocial development may be better predicted by mothers' attachment representations, assuming stability in this variable to be greater, than infant-mother attachment patterns. The study consisted of a sample of 51 children and their mothers. Child-mother attachment patterns were measured by the Strange Situation procedure at 12 months and by the MacArthur Coding System at 5 years of age. Maternal attachment representations were evaluated by the Adult Attachment Interview when mothers were pregnant (in their last trimester) with their first-born child, and five years after. Children's mental health was assessed by maternal reports (Child Behavior Checklist) at 5 and 11 years, and by maternal and children's reports (Child Behavior Checklist and Youth Self-Report) at 16 years. The results indicated that mother-infant attachment patterns were not stable from infancy to the preschool years. However, high stability of mothers' adult attachment representations was found. In prospective analyses, while children's attachment patterns were not predictive of later outcome, mothers' dismissing attachment representations were associated with children's externalising difficulties at 16 years. The results are discussed in relation to developmental challenges to parenting posed by the transition to adolescence and the possible connections to attachment representations. Limitations and suggestions for future research are also discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available