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Infant Attachment Security and the Timing of Puberty: Testing an Evolutionary Hypothesis

Belsky, J; Houts, RM; Fearon, RMP; (2010) Infant Attachment Security and the Timing of Puberty: Testing an Evolutionary Hypothesis. PSYCHOL SCI , 21 (9) 1195 - 1201. 10.1177/0956797610379867.

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Abstract

Life-history theories of the early programming of human reproductive strategy stipulate that early rearing experience, including that reflected in infant-parent attachment security, regulates psychological, behavioral, and reproductive development. We tested the hypothesis that infant attachment insecurity, compared with infant attachment security, at the age of 15 months predicts earlier pubertal maturation. Focusing on 373 White females enrolled in the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development, we gathered data from annual physical exams from the ages of 9 years to 15 years and from self-reported age of menarche. Results revealed that individuals who had been insecure infants initiated and completed pubertal development earlier and had an earlier age of menarche compared with individuals who had been secure infants, even after accounting for age of menarche in the infants' mothers. These results support a conditional-adaptational view of individual differences in attachment security and raise questions about the biological mechanisms responsible for the attachment effects we discerned.

Type: Article
Title: Infant Attachment Security and the Timing of Puberty: Testing an Evolutionary Hypothesis
DOI: 10.1177/0956797610379867
Keywords: attachment, puberty, reproductive strategy, menarche, evolution, MATERNAL-CARE, SENSITIVITY, MENARCHE, AGE, INTERVENTIONS, ANTECEDENTS, MATURATION, CHILDHOOD, BEHAVIOR, PATTERN
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1331771
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