Parent--child emotion communication, attachment, and affective narratives.Attach Hum Dev. 2002 Apr; 4(1):55-67.AH
Forty-four pre-schoolers (ages 4.3 to 5.8 years) and their primary caregivers participated in a study on the connections between parent-child emotion communication and a narrative assessment of pre-schoolers' attachment. Children completed the Separation Anxiety Test (SAT), a narrative assessment of children's responses to attachment-related separations (including self-reliance, avoidance, attachment and coherence scores). Several aspects of parent-child discussions of emotion-eliciting events were also assessed in the Emotion Communication Task. Results indicated that SAT coherence was positively related to SAT attachment and negatively related to SAT avoidance. Furthermore, SAT coherence was positively related to parental scaffolding and negatively related to parental and child negativity during the Emotion Communication Task. Parental scaffolding and child reciprocity were positively related to each other and, in general, were negatively related to parental and child negativity. Discussion focused on the potential contributions of children's interactions with caregivers to the development of children's attachment narratives and emotion-related understanding.