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Infant-mother attachment at one year predicts children's understanding of mixed emotions at six years

Steele, H; Steele, M; Croft, C; Fonagy, P; (1999) Infant-mother attachment at one year predicts children's understanding of mixed emotions at six years. SOC DEV , 8 (2) 161 - 178.

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Abstract

Data from the six-year follow up of a longitudinal study investigating intergenerational patterns of attachment and the effects of early relationships upon subsequent social, emotional and cognitive development are presented. Around the rime of their sixth birthday, 63 children participated in an affect understanding task, involving cartoon diagrams depicting social and emotional dilemmas. As predicted, performance on this task, assessed in terms of mixed-emotion understanding, was predicted by security of the infant-mother attachment relationship las assessed in the Strange Situation at one-year) and security, or autonomy in the mother's representations of and reflections upon, her attachment history (as assessed with the Adult Attachment Interview, of AAI-during pregnancy) prior to the child's birth. Regression analyses suggested that the infant-mother attachment data significantly, enhanced the prediction of an advanced understanding of mixed emotions at six-years, even after controlling for variations in the children's age at time of testing, as well as child and parent verbal skills. The inclusion of earlier assessments of the child-father Strange Situation assessment (at 18-months) did not enhance the model; nor did the attachment status of the mothers or fathers as observed in their prenatal AAIs. Discussion concerns the contributions of early attachment processes, including family, conflict, to the ability to verbally, express an understanding of mixed emotions in a task depicting hypothetical social and emotional dilemmas.

Type:Article
Title:Infant-mother attachment at one year predicts children's understanding of mixed emotions at six years
Keywords:infant-mother attachment, infant-father attachment, mixed emotions, Adult Attachment Interview, INTERACTIONAL SYNCHRONY, 1ST YEAR, PRESCHOOL, ORIGINS, REPRESENTATIONS, ORGANIZATION, METAANALYSIS, BEHAVIOR, TALK
UCL classification:UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences

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