Japanese children's amae and mothers' attachment status as assessed by the Adult Attachment Interview.Int J Psychol. 2011 Oct; 46(5):368-76.IJ
This study explored whether Japanese mothers' attachment status, as judged by the Adult Attachment Interview (AAI), would affect the way they perceive their child's amae. Amae, an indigenous Japanese concept of relatedness, has troubled, fascinated, and even mystified scholars across disciplines. In particular, amae has been sometimes misconstrued as the insecure-ambivalent pattern of attachment due to their apparent behavioral similarities. In an attempt to explore an empirical link between attachment and amae, Japanese mothers' (N = 47) views on their six-year-olds' amae were examined based on a brief amae questionnaire, given following the standard AAI. Mothers generally reported their child's amae similarly for questions of frequency (e.g., how often your child exhibits amae behaviors) or situations (e.g., in what circumstances your child most often engages in amae). However, a difference emerged when mothers' free descriptions of their child's amae were examined for the content quality, categorized, and analyzed against their secure/insecure attachment statuses. Secure mothers depicted their child's amae as being more affective, thus more welcoming, whereas insecure mothers depicted their child's typical amae as being more instrumental or manipulative, thus perhaps less welcoming. Japanese mothers' current states of mind with respect to attachment do appear to affect the way they perceive their child's typical amae. Future research on attachment and amae is discussed.