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Intergenerational patterns of attachment

Steele, Miriam Nurit; (1991) Intergenerational patterns of attachment. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

The present study aimed to examine the possibility of predicting the quality of the mother-child relationship at one year on the basis of prenatal assessments. The theoretical and methodological framework of the research derives from attachment theory. Two principal questions guided the longitudinal investigations reported here; (1) Would an interview-based pregnancy-assessment of expectant mothers' working models of attachment relationships yield a significant association to a subsequent assessment of the quality of the infant-mother attachment? and (2) Would questionnaire-based assessments of attachment, self-esteem, marital satisfaction, social support, the experience of pregnancy, and post-partum adaptation to the maternal role yield independent associations to the observed quality of the mother-child relationship? The longitudinal investigation reported consisted of three phases, a prenatal phase when 100 expectant mothers participated in the multiple assessments; a three-month phase when 88 new mothers' and fathers' adaptation to the parental role was assessed; and a one-year phase when 97 mother-child pairs were followed up in a series of assessments, including the Strange Situation. Results indicate that prenatal administration of the Adult Attachment Interview was a powerful predictor of the child's secure versus insecure attachment status at one- year. This significant finding is discussed in relation to the systematic lack of association observed between the many questionnaire-based assessments incorporated in the study and the Strange Situation assessment of the child- mother attachment. Methodological and theoretical reasons for this lack of concordance are explored. The final discussion suggests that it is the unique capacity of the Adult Attachment Interview for tapping salient aspects of the expectant mother's internal working model of attachment, and attendant defensive processes, which underlies the intergenerational patterns of attachment observed.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Intergenerational patterns of attachment
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Psychology; Mother-child relationship
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10107520
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