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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2006 Dec;1094:292-6.

More than maternal sensitivity shapes attachment: infant coping and temperament.

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Child Development Unit, Children's Hospital, 1295 Boylston Street, Suite 320, Boston, MA 02215, USA.


The aim of this longitudinal study was to investigate the effect of a set of factors from multiple levels of influence: infant temperament, infant regulatory behavior, and maternal sensitivity on infant's attachment. Our sample consisted of 48 infants born prematurely and their mothers. At 1 and 3 months of age, mothers described their infants' behavior using the Escala de Temperamento do Bebé. At 3 months of age, infants' capacity to regulate stress was evaluated during Tronick's Face-to-Face Still-Face (FFSF) paradigm. At 9 months of age, mothers' sensitivity was evaluated during free play using the CARE-Index. At 12 months of age, infants' attachment security was assessed during Ainsworth's Strange Situation. A total of 16 infants were classified as securely attached, 17 as insecure-avoidant, and 15 as insecure-resistant. Mothers of securely attached infants were more likely than mothers of insecure infants to describe their infants as less difficult and to be more sensitive to their infants in free play. In turn, secure infants exhibited more positive responses during the Still-Face. Infants classified as insecure-avoidant were more likely to self-comfort during the Still-Face and had mothers who were more controlling during free play. Insecure-resistant exhibited higher levels of negative arousal during the Still-Face and had mothers who were more unresponsive in free play. These findings show that attachment quality is influenced by multiple factors, including infant temperament, coping behavior, and maternal sensitivity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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