Academic journal article Child Welfare

Benefits of Mother Goose: Influence of a Community-Based Program on Parent-Child Attachment Relationships in Typical Families

Academic journal article Child Welfare

Benefits of Mother Goose: Influence of a Community-Based Program on Parent-Child Attachment Relationships in Typical Families

Article excerpt

An estimated 50 to 60% of children from typical families develop secure attachment relationships with their parents (Ainsworth, Blehar, Waters, & Wall, 1978; Van IJzendoorn & Kroonenberg, 1988); however, intervention research has focused primarily on interventions for high-risk clinical samples (Berlin, Zeanah, & Lieberman, 2008). In this project, the influence of a popular community-based parent-child program was assessed in a non-clinical sample of families. Families participating in a 10-week Parent-Child Mother Goose Program (n.d.) and families on the waitlist for the program were asked to complete questionnaires to assess parenting efficacy and satisfaction as well as parents' perception of their own and their child's attachment styles at the beginning of the program, the end of the program, and six months later. Mothers in the program group reported significantly more positive change in their reports of parenting efficacy over time and also reported significantly more change in their children's attachment category. Specifically, children in the program group were significantly more likely to be classified as secure over time (55% at T1 to 81% at T3) as compared to the waitlist participants (45% at T1 to 62% at T2). In this popular 10-week, community-based program, parents learned skills that continued to influence their relationship with their children six months after the conclusion of the program.

Over the past 50 years, the importance of a secure parent-child attachment relationship has been well documented. Considerable research has demonstrated that secure children are more socially competent (e.g., Schneider, Atkinson, «ScTardif, 2001;Troy & Sroufe, 1987), are less likely to have emotional and behavioral problems (e.g., DeVito Sc Hopkins, 2001; Fagot & Leve, 1998), are less likely to have medical problems (e.g., Chatoor, Ganiban, Colin, Plummer, & Harmon, 1998; Mrazek, Casey, & Anderson, 1987), and score higher on tests of achievement (e.g., Jacobsen & Hofmann, 1997) than insecure children do. In adulthood, researchers have also demonstrated the positive association between secure attachment and adult functioning (e.g., Brennan & Shaver, 1995; Carnelley, Pietromonaco, &Jaffe, 1994; Feeney, Noller, & Callan, 1994; Kunce & Shaver, 1994; Scharfe 8c Bartholomew, 1994). Despite the fact that only an estimated 50-60% of children from typical families form secure attachment relationships with their caregivers (Ainsworth et al., 1978; Van IJzendoorn &Kroonenberg, 1988), intervention research has focused on interventions in high-risk families with multiple problems (for a review, see Berlin et al., 2008). In previous work, Scharfe (2003a) reported that both women identified at risk for mood disorders after childbirth and women who were not identified to be at-risk reported that they preferred community-based interventions to professionally facilitated interventions. Notwithstanding, the benefits of community-based programs for typical families have yet to be fully explored. In this project, the influence of a popular community-based program (Parent-Child Mother Goose [PCMG]; n.d.) on changes in parenting efficacy and satisfaction as well as parent and child attachment styles in typical families were assessed.

Importance of Attachment Relationships

Bowlby (1982) proposed that children's experiences with caregivers early in life exert a powerful influence on the development of attachment representations. Bowlby (1973) suggested that attachment security resulted from responsive, appropriate, caregiving, and that, because of this care, individuals developed a sense of the self as worthy of care and a sense that others will be responsive and sensitive when caring. Ideally, children should feel secure and contented when safely in the presence of caregivers, and when threatened, they should seek proximity to caregivers as a safe haven. Although the goal of attachment (i. …

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