The Relations Between Maternal Behaviors and Urban Preschool Children's Internal Working Models of Attachment Security

Goodman, G., Aber, J.L., Berlin, L. & Brooks-Gunn, J.
Infant Mental Health Journal, 19(4), 338-378.

Interviewed 93 African-American, low-income women who had become pregnant as teenagers and their preschool-aged children in their homes. Mothers answered questions regarding their everyday stresses and feelings of depression. Children were assessed for receptive vocabulary ability, then video-taped completing five stories thematically related to attachment experiences with mother and rated on their security of attachment. Mothers and children were also videotaped playing together, and mothers were assessed on their sensitivity to their children's cues. After controlling for children's age and receptive vocabulary ability, mothers' sensitivity significantly predicted children's level of attachment security. The positive association between maternal sensitivity and children's security of attachment, and the strengths and weaknesses of administering the Attachment Story-Completion Task in the home with this population, are discussed. Implications for assessing attachment in the home are considered.

Wagner Faculty