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Understanding sensitivity: lessons learned from the legacy of Mary Ainsworth.
Attach Hum Dev. 2014; 16(3):261-70.AH

Abstract

On the basis of extensive home observations, Ainsworth proposed that a mother's sensitivity to her infant's signals is the primary determinant of attachment security. Although subsequent research has found a relationship between sensitivity and attachment security, the effect sizes are much smaller than those reported by Ainsworth. In addition to the amount of observation time that might account for the effect size difference, we consider Ainsworth's focus on understanding the organizational structure of relationships. We coded 30 minute video records of interactions between 64 mother-infant dyads from semi-structured home observations conducted at 10 months of age. Coding consisted of writing a narrative summary of the interactions, annotating a completion of Ainsworth's rating scales of acceptance, accessibility, cooperation and sensitivity and then describing the mother's behavior using the Maternal Behaviour Q-set. Sensitivity scores derived from the Q-sort descriptions were robustly related (r = .65) to secure-insecure classifications in the Strange Situation conducted at 13 months. We reflect on the process of assessing Ainsworth's construct of sensitivity.

Authors+Show Affiliations

a Department of Psychology , Western University , London , Canada.No affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Language

eng

PubMed ID

24684568

Citation

Pederson, David R., et al. "Understanding Sensitivity: Lessons Learned From the Legacy of Mary Ainsworth." Attachment & Human Development, vol. 16, no. 3, 2014, pp. 261-70.
Pederson DR, Bailey HN, Tarabulsy GM, et al. Understanding sensitivity: lessons learned from the legacy of Mary Ainsworth. Attach Hum Dev. 2014;16(3):261-70.
Pederson, D. R., Bailey, H. N., Tarabulsy, G. M., Bento, S., & Moran, G. (2014). Understanding sensitivity: lessons learned from the legacy of Mary Ainsworth. Attachment & Human Development, 16(3), 261-70. https://doi.org/10.1080/14616734.2014.900094
Pederson DR, et al. Understanding Sensitivity: Lessons Learned From the Legacy of Mary Ainsworth. Attach Hum Dev. 2014;16(3):261-70. PubMed PMID: 24684568.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Understanding sensitivity: lessons learned from the legacy of Mary Ainsworth. AU - Pederson,David R, AU - Bailey,Heidi N, AU - Tarabulsy,George M, AU - Bento,Sandi, AU - Moran,Greg, Y1 - 2014/03/31/ PY - 2014/4/2/entrez PY - 2014/4/2/pubmed PY - 2014/9/23/medline KW - Ainsworth KW - attachment security KW - maternal behaviour Q-sort KW - maternal sensitivity KW - relationship harmony SP - 261 EP - 70 JF - Attachment & human development JO - Attach Hum Dev VL - 16 IS - 3 N2 - On the basis of extensive home observations, Ainsworth proposed that a mother's sensitivity to her infant's signals is the primary determinant of attachment security. Although subsequent research has found a relationship between sensitivity and attachment security, the effect sizes are much smaller than those reported by Ainsworth. In addition to the amount of observation time that might account for the effect size difference, we consider Ainsworth's focus on understanding the organizational structure of relationships. We coded 30 minute video records of interactions between 64 mother-infant dyads from semi-structured home observations conducted at 10 months of age. Coding consisted of writing a narrative summary of the interactions, annotating a completion of Ainsworth's rating scales of acceptance, accessibility, cooperation and sensitivity and then describing the mother's behavior using the Maternal Behaviour Q-set. Sensitivity scores derived from the Q-sort descriptions were robustly related (r = .65) to secure-insecure classifications in the Strange Situation conducted at 13 months. We reflect on the process of assessing Ainsworth's construct of sensitivity. SN - 1469-2988 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/24684568/Understanding_sensitivity:_lessons_learned_from_the_legacy_of_Mary_Ainsworth_ DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -