In the summer of 1983, while Jay Belsky was directing a research program focused on families rearing firstborn infants, two research reports indicating a possible link between insecure attachment and the subsequent development of child behavior problems ( Erickson, Egeland, & Sroufe, 1985;1 Lewis, Feiring, McGuffog, & Jaskir, 19842) came to our attention. Neither of the studies described in these reports demonstrated that insecurity caused subsequent behavior problems in preschool and early school-age children. However, each indicated that under certain conditions, 12- to 18-month-old children who were evaluated as insecurely attached to their mothers in the Strange Situation were at heightened risk for displaying internalizing and/or externalizing behavior problems as older children.
At the time that these investigations came to our attention, we were in the midst of completing attachment assessments on the infants whose families were enrolled in our second longitudinal study and were about to initiate assessments of a third sample. Upon enrolling families in all of our investigations, we promised parents that we would share with them any concerns about their child's development that might surface in the course of our research. Not only did we see such an offer as an inducement to parents to become involved, but in virtually every case this was a motivating factor for them. Even before we informed parents of our policy that the information we obtained on their children belonged to them and was not something that we would keep for ourselves, many queried us about the feedback we would give them concerning our findings.
Having established this implicit social contract to share information, we____________________