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[Differences in attachment and personality in children from child guidance centers, child psychiatry units, and control families].

Zimmermann P, et al. Prax Kinderpsychol Kinderpsychiatr. 2013.

Abstract

Insecure attachment and deficits in self-regulation as personality traits are risk factors for the development of psychopathological symptoms from infancy on. This study examines differences in attachment and personality in late childhood, comparing children from non-clinical families, from a child guidance center, and child psychiatry units with in-patient care. Children's attachment representations, their attachment behavior strategy, reported distressing parental behavior, their emotional openness, and attachment coherency were assessed with the Late Childhood Attachment Interview (LCAI). Ego-resiliency, ego-undercontrol, field-independence, aggressiveness, and anxiety were assessed by means of the California Child Q-Sort. The results show clear attachment differences, with the child guidance group showing more attachment insecurity in the LCAI compared to the control group, and the psychiatric in-patient group even more attachment insecurity, more distressing parenting from both mother and father, and more attachment disorganization than the other two groups. Whereas children from the child guidance center and the child psychiatry unit did not differ in personality, both groups were significantly different from the control group in all personality dimensions. The results suggest that personality differences may be a risk factor for behaviour problems, however problem severity and the choice of the treatment institution seem to be influenced by attachment security.

PMID

23596902 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Full text

Article in German.
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