Attachment in mothers with anxiety disorders and their children.J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 1994 Oct; 33(8):1106-13.JA
This study examined adult attachment in mothers diagnosed with anxiety disorders and child-mother attachment in their children.
Eighteen mothers with Axis I anxiety disorders completed the Adult Attachment Interview and standardized questionnaires. These mothers and their preschool children (n = 20) then participated in the Strange Situation Procedure.
All mothers were classified as nonautonomous with respect to attachment, with 78% judged unresolved. When those judged unresolved were reassigned to their alternate categories, the proportion of nonautonomous mothers was 61%. Eighty percent of the children were classified as insecurely attached, with 65% judged disorganized. When those judged disorganized were reassigned to their alternate categories, the proportion of insecurely attached children was 55%. Sixty-five percent of the children matched their mother's attachment classification. Mothers of securely attached children reported fewer recent life events, fewer depressive symptoms, and a greater sense of parenting competence than mothers of insecurely attached children.
These results suggest that attachment measures can be applied to anxious populations. The high rate of insecurity among offspring of anxious mothers indicates a need for longitudinal studies of these children.