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Early Child Dev Care. 2010 Jan;180(1-2):107-119.

Positive Aspects of Fathering and Mothering, and Children's Attachment in Kindergarten.

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Psychology, University of Notre Dame.


Past research suggests that maternal and paternal parenting processes differentially contribute to children's adjustment. However, the contribution of paternal warmth and responsiveness, to childhood attachment security is less understood, especially beyond the preschool years. The current study examined relations between parenting and attachment among 236 families with children in kindergarten. Parental warmth was virtually unrelated to attachment security and avoidance with mothers and fathers, while paternal and maternal responsiveness to children's emotional distress were uniquely predictive of father- and mother-child attachments, respectively. Although less responsive parenting was related to insecure attachment for both mothers and fathers, the parenting mechanisms associated with insecure attachment differed. Low paternal responsiveness was linked with continuous and categorical assessments of insecure-avoidant attachment, while low maternal responsiveness was associated with insecure-ambivalent attachment. Further research is needed to delineate why these patterns differ for fathers and mothers in order to understand fathers' unique effects on childhood attachment.

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