Maternal, Infant, and Social- Contextual Determinants of Attachment Security
Jay Belsky The Pennsylvania State University
Russell Isabella Utah State University
As noted in the introductory chapter to this volume, it was only a decade or so ago that students of infancy and early childhood were taught that individual differences in child development could not be predicted on the basis of information obtained during the first year of life. Yet today, on the basis of just 10 years' worth of theoretically informed empirical inquiry into the developmental "consequences" of attachment security (and insecurity), such a conclusion is regarded by most as patently false. In point of fact, critics as well as proponents of the Strange Situation procedure (used for measuring security of infant-parent attachment) acknowledge the predictive power of 12 to 18 month attachment classifications ( Bretherton, in press; Lamb, Thompson, Gardner, Charnov, & Estes, 1984), even if they are in disagreement as to why such prediction from infancy to early childhood is successful.
Although inquiry into the consequences of individual differences in attachment security has captured the interest of a great many clinicians and researchers, and has spawned new approaches to thinking about and studying continuity and discontinuity in early development (see Chapter 1), it has not been the only attachment-related issue that has generated a great deal of theoretically informed research. The second major issue that has long occupied theoretician and researcher alike, and that serves as the focus of this chapter, involves the developmental antecedents responsible for the individual differences in security of attachment that are so readily observed in the Strange Situation at 1 year.1 The prevailing notion holds____________________