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Emotional availability and attachment across generations: variations in patterns associated with infant health risk status.
Child Care Health Dev. 2012 Jul; 38(4):538-44.CC

Abstract

BACKGROUND

The presence of limits or distortions in the children's communicative behaviours (due to a chronic illness) may interfere with the possibility to build secure attachment relationships. Moreover, the distress that the atypical chronic illness condition brings to family life may interfere the intergenerational transmission of attachment.

METHODS

This study evaluated the associations between maternal attachment representations, emotional availability and mother-child attachment in a clinical and in a comparison group. Forty infants (23 female) in their 14th month of life and their mothers participated in this study, 20 dyads with clinical infants (10 premature infants and 10 infants affected by atopic dermatitis) and 20 full-term and healthy comparison infants. The Adult Attachment Interview, the Emotional Availability Scales (EAS) and the Strange Situation Procedure were used to assess, respectively, the security of mothers' attachment representations, the emotional availability and the quality of mother-child attachment.

RESULTS

We found that the two groups (clinical vs. comparison) did not differ with respect to the Adult Attachment Interview and the Emotional Availability Scales measures. A significant difference was found in the distribution of the infant-mother attachment patterns, with a higher incidence of insecure infants in the clinical group. In the typically developing group, more secure maternal attachment representations predicted more emotional availability in mother-infant interactions, which predicted more secure infant-mother attachments. However, we did not find similar support for intergenerational transmission of attachment in the clinical group.

CONCLUSIONS

We speculate that constant concerns about the child's health condition and communicative difficulties of clinical infants may hamper or even mitigate the intergenerational transmission of attachment.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Department of Psychology, University of Bari, Bari, Italy. cassibba@psico.uniba.itNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article

Language

eng

PubMed ID

21752061

Citation

Cassibba, R, et al. "Emotional Availability and Attachment Across Generations: Variations in Patterns Associated With Infant Health Risk Status." Child: Care, Health and Development, vol. 38, no. 4, 2012, pp. 538-44.
Cassibba R, van IJzendoorn MH, Coppola G. Emotional availability and attachment across generations: variations in patterns associated with infant health risk status. Child Care Health Dev. 2012;38(4):538-44.
Cassibba, R., van IJzendoorn, M. H., & Coppola, G. (2012). Emotional availability and attachment across generations: variations in patterns associated with infant health risk status. Child: Care, Health and Development, 38(4), 538-44. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2214.2011.01274.x
Cassibba R, van IJzendoorn MH, Coppola G. Emotional Availability and Attachment Across Generations: Variations in Patterns Associated With Infant Health Risk Status. Child Care Health Dev. 2012;38(4):538-44. PubMed PMID: 21752061.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Emotional availability and attachment across generations: variations in patterns associated with infant health risk status. AU - Cassibba,R, AU - van IJzendoorn,M H, AU - Coppola,G, Y1 - 2011/07/13/ PY - 2011/7/15/entrez PY - 2011/7/15/pubmed PY - 2012/9/7/medline SP - 538 EP - 44 JF - Child: care, health and development JO - Child Care Health Dev VL - 38 IS - 4 N2 - BACKGROUND: The presence of limits or distortions in the children's communicative behaviours (due to a chronic illness) may interfere with the possibility to build secure attachment relationships. Moreover, the distress that the atypical chronic illness condition brings to family life may interfere the intergenerational transmission of attachment. METHODS: This study evaluated the associations between maternal attachment representations, emotional availability and mother-child attachment in a clinical and in a comparison group. Forty infants (23 female) in their 14th month of life and their mothers participated in this study, 20 dyads with clinical infants (10 premature infants and 10 infants affected by atopic dermatitis) and 20 full-term and healthy comparison infants. The Adult Attachment Interview, the Emotional Availability Scales (EAS) and the Strange Situation Procedure were used to assess, respectively, the security of mothers' attachment representations, the emotional availability and the quality of mother-child attachment. RESULTS: We found that the two groups (clinical vs. comparison) did not differ with respect to the Adult Attachment Interview and the Emotional Availability Scales measures. A significant difference was found in the distribution of the infant-mother attachment patterns, with a higher incidence of insecure infants in the clinical group. In the typically developing group, more secure maternal attachment representations predicted more emotional availability in mother-infant interactions, which predicted more secure infant-mother attachments. However, we did not find similar support for intergenerational transmission of attachment in the clinical group. CONCLUSIONS: We speculate that constant concerns about the child's health condition and communicative difficulties of clinical infants may hamper or even mitigate the intergenerational transmission of attachment. SN - 1365-2214 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/21752061/Emotional_availability_and_attachment_across_generations:_variations_in_patterns_associated_with_infant_health_risk_status_ L2 - https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2214.2011.01274.x DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -