Maternal contributions to child competence in securely attached infants during the second year

Michels, Suzanne Elizabeth, Psychology, University of Virginia
Hrncir, Elizabeth, Psychology, University of Virginia
Moss, Susan, Psychology, University of Virginia
Reeve, Ron, ED-EDHS Department, University of Virginia
Pianta, Robert, ED-EDHS, University of Virginia

Sixty-five white, middle-class children were studied at 12 and 18 months of age. At 18 months, 83% were classified as securely attached, 12% as avoidant, and 5% as ambivalent, using Ainsworth and Wittig's (1969) Strange Situation paradigm. Current maternal sensitivity during play, as measured by the Parent/Caregiver Involvement Scale, was related to child performance on the Bayley Scales of Infant Development independent of quality of attachment. Contemporaneous maternal sensitivity at 18 months shared more variance with a measure of change in Bayley performance from 12 to 18 months than did maternal sensitivity 6 months earlier. Maternal contributions to Bayley performance changed from 12 to 18 months. At 12 months, mothers' report of their satisfaction with their relationship with their infant (Parent Stress Index; Abidin, 1986) shared the most variance with Bayley performance. At 18 months, maternal sensitivity and an estimate of maternal IQ (WAIS-R short form) shared the most variance with Bayley performance. This shift from 12 to 18 months is discussed in terms of Bowlby's model of the mother-child relationship and children's internalization of maternal qualities. Mothers of secure infants reported higher esteem concerning their maternal role and scored higher on the WAIS-R than other mothers. Securely attached infants earned higher scores on the Bayley. The relationships found between quality of attachment, maternal esteem, maternal IQ, and child competence are explored.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Infant psychology, Parent and infant
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