A dimensional approach to maternal attachment state of mind: relations to maternal sensitivity and maternal autonomy support.Dev Psychol. 2011 Mar; 47(2):396-403.DP
The aim of this study was to examine the developmental significance of the newly developed dimensional approach to attachment state of mind by investigating its capacity to predict individual differences in the quality of two caregiving behaviors-maternal sensitivity and maternal autonomy support-that are linked to numerous important child outcomes. Seventy-one upper-middle-class, predominantly French-speaking and Caucasian dyads participated in 3 home visits (34 girls). The Adult Attachment Interview (AAI) was administered when the infants were 8 months old, maternal sensitivity was assessed when they were 12 months old, and maternal autonomy support was assessed at 15 months. The results revealed that, above and beyond SES, maternal sensitivity was negatively related to the dismissing dimension of the AAI, whereas maternal autonomy support was negatively linked to the preoccupied/unresolved dimension. In contrast, the traditional AAI categories were not significantly linked to parenting. These results speak to the relevance of using a continuous approach to attachment state of mind when predicting individual differences in specific caregiving behaviors.