Clinical Implications of Attachment

By Jay Belsky; Teresa Nezworski | Go to book overview

ety, and lower scores on social desirability. They also had less knowledge of the reciprocal nature of mother-infant interaction, and less maternal feeling. Mothers of easy babies were generally the opposite on these measures. In general, the mothers who perceived their infants as difficult were described as more anxious, hostile and suspicious than mothers who perceived their infants as easy. Vaughn et al. ( 1981) felt that the ITQ was an assessment of the mother, and not the infant, and they speculated that the anxiety and hostility of these women interfered with the accurate reading of their infants' behavior, diminishing their capacity to be sensitive and appropriately responsive to infant cues.

If the mothers of insecure infants are higher on NA, as we would hypothesize, then it is surprising that Vaughn et al. ( 1981) found no relationships between the ITQ and attachment classifications. Perhaps such data need to be considered longitudinally, as Belsky and Isabella (this volume) did. They found that the mothers of insecure infants increased their negative perceptions of their infants' temperaments, and mothers of secure infants decreased their negative perceptions between 3 and 9 months.


CONCLUSION

In conclusion, this chapter makes several contributions to our understanding of social-risk and the antecedents to attachment quality in a high-social-risk population. This study is one of a few efforts to apply a D classification to the traditional Ainsworth A-B-C coding of the Strange Situation. The D category will enrich our understanding of the antecedents to attachment quality, in part because it functions to remove poor exemplars from the A, B, and C categories. Not all infants who are poor exemplars of the A, B, or C categories are D's, however. We view these attachment categories as existing on a continuum. In reality, some infants show behavior that is common to more than one category. We chose to eliminate these boundary cases so that we could get a clearer understanding of the meaningful differences that do exist among dyads representing the distinct categories in the Strange Situation. Finally, the findings of this study have been important in engendering the speculation that the pattern of maternal negative and positive perceptions about self and others is related to the quality of the mother's interaction with her infant and, eventually, to the quality of her infant's attachment. Although clearly not the only antecedent factor, NA may be an important one for integrating the findings from studies of low-risk and high-risk populations. Apart from the actual presence of maltreatment or severe maternal depressive illness, the number or type of family stressful life events or difficult life circumstances, as measured in this and other studies, does not seem to be related

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Clinical Implications of Attachment
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Contents vii
  • Contributors xiii
  • Preface xv
  • I General Issues 1
  • 1: Clinical Implications of Attachment 3
  • References 15
  • 2: The Role of Infant-Caregiver Attachment in Development 18
  • Acknowledgment 30
  • Appendix: Attachment, Patterns of Adaptation, Continuity and Change 30
  • References 35
  • II Determinants of Attachment Security and Insecurity 39
  • 3: Maternal, Infant, and Social-Contextual Determinants of Attachment Security 41
  • Appendix: Attachment, Patterns of Adaptation, Continuity and Change 88
  • 4: Maternal Antecedents of Attachment Quality 95
  • Introduction 131
  • Appendix: Attachment, Patterns of Adaptation, Continuity and Change 132
  • 5: Relationships at Risk 136
  • Acknowledgments 164
  • References 164
  • References 167
  • III Consequences of Attachment Security and Insecurity 175
  • 6: Attachment and the Ontogeny of Conduct Problems 177
  • References 210
  • Summary and Conclusions 241
  • References 246
  • References 246
  • 8: Attachment and the Development of Behavior Problems 253
  • References 295
  • 9: Avoidance and Its Relation to Other Defensive Processes 300
  • Acknowledgments 318
  • References 318
  • IV Clinical Applications 325
  • 10: Clinical Applications of Attachment Theory 327
  • References 348
  • 11: Intervention in Insecure Infant Attachment 352
  • References 382
  • 12: A Clinical Approach to Attachment 387
  • References 415
  • Author Index 425
  • Subject Index 435
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