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Child Dev. 2001 Sep-Oct;72(5):1467-77.

Attachment for infants in foster care: the role of caregiver state of mind.

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Department of Psychology, University of Delaware, Newark 19716-2579, USA.


The concordance between foster mothers' attachment state of mind and foster infants' attachment quality was examined for 50 foster mother-infant dyads. Babies had been placed into the care of their foster mothers between birth and 20 months of age. Attachment quality was assessed between 12 and 24 months of age, at least 3 months after the infants' placement into foster care. The two-way correspondence between maternal state of mind and infant attachment quality was 72%, kappa = .43, similar to the level seen among biologically intact mother-infant dyads. Contrary to expectations, age at placement was not related to attachment quality. Rather, concordance between maternal state of mind and infant attachment was seen for relatively late-placed babies, as well as early placed babies. These findings have two major implications. First, following a disruption in care during the first year and a half of life, babies appear capable of organizing their behavior around the availability of new caregivers. Second, these data argue for a nongenetic mechanism for the intergenerational transmission of attachment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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