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Attach Hum Dev. 2008 Sep;10(3):225-61. doi: 10.1080/14616730802113570.

Attachment in US children experiencing nonmaternal care in the early 1990s.

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Institute for Public Research, A Division of CNA, Alexandria, VA, USA.


This review paper presents and places in context findings from 23 manuscripts based on the data sets of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development (SECCYD). The NICHD study tracked the development of more than 1000 children from birth through age 15. The children were born across the USA to families that were diverse in terms of their economic, educational, and ethnic background. The children also varied in terms of the timing, extent, quality, and type of their child care experiences. The findings reported in this review paper pertain to (1) predictors of child-mother attachment; (2) links between child-mother attachment and children's developmental outcomes; and (3) methods for assessing attachment. The review paper also includes suggestions for future attachment research afforded by the data sets of the NICHD SECCYD. Not all the hypotheses tested in the reviewed papers were confirmed, and those that were confirmed were associated with modest effect sizes. Some findings emerged under specific conditions, even though they were expected to be more universal. These findings need to be discussed and aligned with theory. Also, the extent to which the findings generalize beyond the historical period and the country in which the data were collected merits discussion and exploration.

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