Emotional competence and behavior problems: Differences across Preschool Assessment of Attachment classifications.Clin Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2010 Jul; 15(3):391-406.CC
This study examined attachment in association with preschoolers' emotional functioning among 54 predominantly low-income families living in Appalachia. Attachment was assessed at age 4 years using the Strange Situation (Ainsworth, Blehar, Waters, & Wall, 1978) and classified with the PAA (Crittenden, 2004). Emotional competence was measured via an interview about children's memories for six emotions, rated in terms of both emotion understanding and regulation. Parent-, teacher-, and self-reports of children's internalizing and externalizing symptoms were also completed. Questionnaires and interviews assessed socioeconomic risk and parental symptoms and negative childhood experiences. Children's PAA strategies were significantly associated with risks, emotion regulation and understanding, and symptoms. Children using highly coercive strategies showed the greatest difficulties. Emotion regulation and understanding also were associated with parent- and teacher-report of symptoms. These findings suggest that intervention efforts with at-risk youngsters should target not only attachment security, but also emotional competence skills.