Parent-Child Relations throughout Life

By Karl Pillemer; Kathleen McCartney | Go to book overview

this may be as feasible with the parent attachment interview as with the Berkeley adult attachment interview ( Main, 1985), in which patterns of secureautonomous, preoccupied and dismissing responses were identified. Indeed, we intend to compare parental responses to both interviews in a future study.

Further improvements of the parent attachment interview will include more questions about the parental inner experience, in addition to questions about "What happens when However, even as currently worded and with our present tools (i.e., the Sensitivity/Insight scale), the interview will allow us to conduct a number of interesting additional studies. First, we will be able to contrast paternal and maternal perspectives on the same child. Second, we will be able to tap the same parent's view of attachment relationships with different children. Third, and perhaps most important from an attachment-theoretical point of view, we hope that this interview will allow us to track stability and change in attachment relationships across time. One of the drawbacks of administering the same interview on repeated occasions is that it may become a stale or tedious experience for the parent. Fortunately young children's rapid development makes this much less likely with the Parent Attachment Interview. Were we to conduct such repeated interviews we might discover that changes in the observed child-parent attachment relationship are accompanied by changes in the quality of parental representations. Alternatively, we might find that parental interviews provide a more stable picture of the relationship than observational assessments that may be more influenced by temporary perturbations occasioned by the arrival of a sibling, a family member's illness, parental job loss, divorce, or other stressful life events. In the present study (see Table 1.2), the sensitivity/insight scale derived from the Parent At tachment Interview was consistently related to prior, concurrent and subsequent assessments of attachment quality, suggesting that it may be fruitful to test this working hypothesis more intensively.


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

This is an expanded version of a paper published in the Infant Mental Health journal, September, 1989. We would like to thank the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Research Network for Childhood Transitions for supporting this research. We are also grateful to the mothers who provided the information on which this chapter is based, and to Cynthia Brody and Brenda Edwards who coded the content of the interviews.


REFERENCES

Ainsworth, M. D. S., Bell, S. M., & Stayton, D. ( 1974). Infant-mother attachment and social development: "Socialization" as a product of reciprocal responsiveness to signals. In M. P. M. Richards (Ed.), The integration of the child into a social world (pp. 99-135). London: Cambridge University Press.

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