Individual differences in biobehavioral organization during problem-solving in toddlers: the influence of maternal behavior, infant-mother attachment, and behavioral inhibition on the attachment-exploration balance.Dev Psychobiol. 2005 May; 46(4):293-306.DP
The aim of the study was to investigate the influence of maternal behavior, infant-mother attachment, and behavioral inhibition on the biobehavioral organization of toddlers during a primary non-attachment-related challenging context. In a sample of 76 toddlers, quality of attachment (secure, avoidant, ambivalent, disorganized) was assessed at 12 months. At 22 months, the subjects were observed in a challenging task according to [Matas et al. (1978) Child Development 49: 547-556], and salivary cortisol was assessed before and afterwards. Behavioral analyses included child task orientation and exploration, help seeking, proximity seeking, and attachment-exploration-balance as well as maternal supportive presence and quality of assistance. Behavioral inhibition was assessed from maternal reports. Findings from concurrent analyses indicate relations between toddler behavior and adrenocortical function and the importance of concurrent maternal support for toddler behavior. Longitudinal analyses showed that quality of attachment predicted task orientation, help seeking behavior, and the quality of the attachment-exploration-balance, while behavioral inhibition was related to approach to the task. In line with previous findings, adrenocortical activation was found only in insecure infants with high behavioral inhibition indicating the function of attachment security as a social buffer against less adaptive temperamental dispositions. Finally, within-group analyses indicated a social regulation pattern in secure toddlers while the behavior of insecure ones was additionally linked to behavioral inhibition and physiological reactivity.