Parent relationship quality and infant mother attachment

parent relationship quality and infant mother attachment

Whether and how non-maternal child-care experience affects children's earliest years of life, to undermine the security of infant-parent attachment relationships. To some Another was that (unmeasured) poor quality care and not timing and. The quality of the parent-child relationship is affected by the parent's age, Mothers who believe that they are effective parents are more competent than mothers PARENT-INFANT ATTACHMENT One of the most important aspects of infant. Attachment Relationships: Quality of Care for Young Children. Early Childhood in . Focus, 1. This need for attachment security, together with the parental causes and beneficent I. Attachment relationships: infants and caregivers . 1.

However, most studies concentrated on one specific risk factor at the time, or several co-occurring factors that could not be disentangled. The aim of the present study was to examine the influence on dyadic emotional availability EA; Biringen and Robinson, ; Biringen,as an index of mother—child interaction quality, and on child attachment security of different psychosocial and socio-demographic risk factors in at-risk families living in Northern Italy.

Results in this direction may guide the selection of inclusion criteria for effective intervention programs that promote sensitive and responsive parenting in at-risk families.

Attachment Security and Emotional Availability Secure attachment has been shown to positively influence child social emotional as well as cognitive adaptation beyond infancy Bar-Haim et al. Secure mother—child attachment is the result of adequate maternal sensitivity, as postulated by Ainsworth et al.

However, especially in high risk populations, the strength of this association may be modest and sensitivity may just partially explain child attachment security Ward and Carlson, ; Seifer et al. Indeed, different risk factors can affect maternal sensitivity and child attachment security in many ways, complicating their associations.

When studying the impact of risk factors on mother—child relationship, it may be appropriate to focus on more complex constructs within the theoretical attachment framework that expands that of maternal sensitivity. Studies of EA suggest that the construct not only plays a role in the prediction of attachment Easterbrooks and Biringen,but also show significant and meaningful associations with many discrete affective indices of parent—child interaction Robinson et al. Psychosocial Risk Factors for Parent—Child Relationship Among the most investigated factors thought to have a detrimental effect on parent—child relationship and child healthy development are low SES of the family and maternal psychopathology.

SES influences physical and psychological health as well as the chances of social and cultural achievements during the all life span Ensminger and Fothergill, Children born and raised in low SES families have higher chances of perinatal negative outcomes and fewer chances of receiving the appropriate physical cares and cognitive stimulation they need for their healthy development Yoshikawa et al.

Parenting quality is thought to be affected by the increased instability and stresses connected to low income and poor education conditions Bronfenbrenner, ; Aber et al.

Low SES mothers are reported to show lower levels of synchronic and responsive behavior when interacting with their children Tamis-LeMonda et al. Lower levels of attachment security and a higher rate of disorganized attachment have been clearly documented in studies on low SES and low income families Lyons-Ruth et al.

However, some level of inconsistency exists in this body of research and meta-analytic studies demonstrated comparable levels of attachment security between low SES and middle class children when isolated cases of neglect and maltreatment where excluded Spieker and Booth, A plethora of research has documented negative associations between maternal psychopathology and child psychological wellbeing Downey and Coyne, ; Cummings and Davies, ; Seifer and Dickstein, ; Burstein et al.

This field of research has been dominated by studies on maternal depression showing its detrimental effect on mother—child relationship and child healthy development Downey and Coyne, ; Campbell et al. Maternal depression has been empirically linked to lower levels of attachment security Lyons-Ruth et al. However, the strength of this association has been found to be modest and maternal depression alone may not result in inadequate parenting quality or attachment insecurity for some children van IJzendoorn et al.

Socio-Demographic Risk Factors for Parent—Child Relationship Other conditions that have been investigated as potential risk factors in the parenting literature are two socio-demographic factors, namely young maternal age, and, to a lower extent, single parenting.

However, both factors are thought to affect parent—child relationship mainly when occurring together with psychosocial risk conditions, as those described above, which indeed are especially frequent among young and single mothers Rosenkrantz Aronson and Huston, ; Letourneau et al.

Attachment Theory: How Your Childhood Shaped You

There is a strong body of research showing that compared to older mothers, adolescent mothers display less desirable childrearing attitudes, lower sensitivity and diminished EA; Pomerleau et al. Accordingly, researchers found that children of adolescent mothers are less likely to develop a secure attachment and more likely to develop behavioral problems Madigan et al. Raising a child without the help of a partner exposes the mothers to more challenges, stress and fatigue, leading to higher chances of psychological problems Broussard et al.

Children raised only by the mother show poorer outcomes in several areas of development. Research in this domain has demonstrated lower levels of social emotional adaptation, social competence, cognitive scores, school achievements as well as higher rates of anxiety disorders and deviant behaviors in children raised in single-mother compared to two-parents families Carlson and Corcoran, ; Weinraub et al.

Studies on attachment relationship between single mothers and their children showed inconsistent results ranging from increased Golombok et al. However, the predictive value of each risk factor appears to be moderated by the co-occurrence of other risk factors in a complex additive model. Nevertheless most of the studies within this body of literature took into account one risk factor at the time. In an attempt to identify the specific effect on mother—child relationship of each risk factor as well as the cumulative effect of their co-occurrence, low family SES, maternal psychopathology, maternal young age, and single parenting, were analyzed both as dichotomic and as continuous variables in a longitudinal design.

We specifically hypothesized to find modest negative associations between continuous measures of risk factors and the EA and attachment measures.

parent relationship quality and infant mother attachment

Finally, we expected that EA and attachment security measures would be higher in dyads presenting socio-demographic factors alone compared to dyads presenting psychosocial risk factors alone or a combination of both. Results of this explorative study would be crucial for the identification of the families at higher risk for low relationship quality and attachment security who might profit of prevention intervention that promote emotionally available mother—child relationship and in turn reduce the risk of poor developmental outcomes.

At the time of recruitment mothers had a mean age of Measures for the present study were collected when children were aged 3, 6, 12, and 18 months with a 2-weeks flexibility interval. After consensus was obtained, mothers were visited by a trained psychologist to verify through clinical interview and psychological assessment that at least one of the following inclusion criteria was satisfied: Participants gave written informed consent for their participation in the study.

The study protocol was approved by the local ethical committee. Procedure The protocol of the broader longitudinal study in which the participants were involved included several home visits of a trained psychologist for test administration, mother—child interaction observation and video recording.

Measures of maternal risk factors used for the present study were collected during home visits at pregnancy and at child age three and six Measures of mother—child relationship quality and child attachment security were taken during home visits at ages 12 and 18 months, respectively.

Measures of psychosocial and socio-demographic risk factors Maternal risk factors were considered both at a dychotomic and at a continuous level. A Dychotomic classifications of the mothers for low family SES, maternal psychopathology, young age and single parenting are described in the Participants section where the inclusion criteria are defined. B As continuous measures of psychosocial risk factors the following questionnaire scores were considered: Emotional availability measure Emotional availability in a subsample of 25 mother—child dyads was evaluated from min of free-play at home interaction videorecorded continuously by a female filmmaker.

A standard set of age-appropriate toys was used and mothers were instructed to play with their children in their usual way, disregarding the observer presence.

Observations were coded using the emotional availability scales EAS: These Scales consist of six dimensions concerned with emotional regulation in the parent—child dyad.

Four dimensions address the EA of the parent in relation to the child sensitivity, structuring, non-intrusiveness, and non-hostilityand two address the EA of the child in relation to the parent responsiveness and involving. All scales range from 1 highly emotional unavailable to 7 highly emotional available points and scores are given based on seven subcategories.

Structuring assesses the degree to which the parent provides rules, regulations, and a supportive framework for interaction while appropriately scaffolding child play, exploration, or routine. Non-intrusiveness refers to the ability to be available for the child without being over-directive, over-stimulating, or overprotective. Non-hostility assesses the degree of hostility both in covert and overt forms.

The flexible nature of the Scales, which can be used with children from infancy to early childhood, and the choice of an ecological context of free-play with a standard toy set for pre-school children allowed us to use the same observational situation for all participants. Coding was carried out by two independent coders who were first trained on the EAS to obtain satisfactory interrater reliability with the codings the author of the EAS 4th edition and then between themselves.

Socialization preparing the youngster to live as a member of a social group implicit during most of the first two years of life, becomes clear as the child moves toward his or her third birthday. Socialization is an important part of the parent-child relationship. It includes various child-rearing practices, for example weaning, toilet training, and discipline. Dimensions of the parent-child relationship are linked to the child's psychological development, specifically how responsive the parents are, and how demanding they are.

Responsive parents are warm and accepting toward their children, enjoying them and trying to see things from their perspective. In contrast, nonresponsive parents are aloof, rejecting, or critical.

They show little pleasure in their children and are often insensitive to their emotional needs. Some parents are demanding, while others are too tolerant. Children's healthy psychological development is facilitated when the parents are both responsive and moderately demanding. During toddlerhood, children often begin to assert their need for autonomy by challenging their parents.

Parent relationship quality and infant-mother attachment.

Sometimes, the child's newfound assertiveness during the so-called terrible twos can put a strain on the parent-child relationship. It is important that parents recognize that this behavior is normal for the toddler, and the healthy development of independence is promoted by a parent-child relationship that provides support for the child's developing sense of autonomy. In many regards, the security of the first attachment between infant and parent provides the child with the emotional base to begin exploring the world outside the parent-child relationship.

Preschool Various parenting styles evolve during the preschool years. Preschoolers with authoritative parents are curious about new experiences, focused and skilled at playself-reliant, self-controlled, and cheerful. School age During the elementary school years, the child becomes increasingly interested in peers, but this is not be a sign of disinterest in the parent-child relationship.

Rather, with the natural broadening of psychosocial and cognitive abilities, the child's social world expands to include more people and settings beyond the home environment. The parent-child relationship remains the most important influence on the child's development.

Children whose parents are both responsive and demanding continue to thrive psychologically and socially during the middle childhood years. During the school years, the parent-child relationship continues to be influenced by the child and the parents. In most families, patterns of interaction between parent and child are well established in the elementary school years.

Adolescence As the child enters adolescencebiological, cognitive, and emotional changes transform the parent-child relationship. The child's urges for independence may challenge parents' authority. Many parents find early adolescence a difficult period. Adolescents fare best and their parents are happiest when parents can be both encouraging and accepting of the child's needs for more psychological independence.

Although the value of peer relations grows during adolescence, the parent-child relationship remains crucial for the child's psychological development. Authoritative parenting that combines warmth and firmness has the most positive impact on the youngster's development.

Adolescents who have been reared authoritatively continue to show more success in school, better psychological development, and fewer behavior problems.

Adolescence may be a time of heightened bickering and diminished closeness in the parent-child relationship, but most disagreements between parents and young teenagers are over less important matters, and most teenagers and parents agree on the essentials.

By late adolescence most children report feeling as close to their parents as they did during elementary school. Parenting styles Parenting has four main styles: Although no parent is consistent in all situations, parents do follow some general tendencies in their approach to childrearing, and it is possible to describe a parent-child relationship by the prevailing style of parenting. These descriptions provide guidelines for both professionals and parents interested in understanding how variations in the parent-child relationship affect the child's development.

Parenting style is shaped by the parent's developmental history, education, and personality; the child's behavior; and the immediate and broader context of the parent's life.

parent relationship quality and infant mother attachment

Also, the parent's behavior is influenced by the parent's work, the parents' marriage, family finances, and other conditions likely to affect the parent's behavior and psychological well-being.

In addition, parents in different cultures, from different social classes, and from different ethnic groups rear their children differently. In any event, children's behavior and psychological development are linked to the parenting style with which they are raised.

parent relationship quality and infant mother attachment

Authoritarian parents Authoritarian parents are rigid in their rules; they expect absolute obedience from the child without any questioning. They also expect the child to accept the family beliefs and principles without questions. Authoritarian parents are strict disciplinarians, often relying on physical punishment and the withdrawal of affection to shape their child's behavior. Children raised with this parenting style are often moody, unhappy, fearful, and irritable. They tend to be shy, withdrawn, and lack self-confidence.

If affection is withheld, the child commonly is rebellious and antisocial. Authoritative parents Authoritative parents show respect for the opinions of each of their children by allowing them to be different.

Although there are rules in the household, the parents allow discussion if the children do not understand or agree with the rules. These parents make it clear to the children that although they the parents have final authority, some negotiation and compromise may take place.

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Authoritative parents are both responsive and demanding; they are firm, but they discipline with love and affection, rather than power, and they are likely to explain rules and expectations to their children instead of simply asserting them. This style of parenting often results in children who have high self-esteem and are independent, inquisitive, happy, assertive, and interactive.

Permissive parents Permissive indulgent parents have little or no control over the behavior of their children. If any rules exist in the home, they are followed inconsistently.

parent relationship quality and infant mother attachment

Underlying reasons for rules are given, but the children decide whether they will follow the rule and to what extent. They learn that they can get away with any behavior. Indulgent parents are responsive but not especially demanding. They have few expectations of their children and impose little or inconsistent discipline.

There are empty threats of punishment without setting limits. Role reversal occurs; the children act more like the parents, and the parents behave like the children.

parent relationship quality and infant mother attachment

Children of permissive parents may be disrespectful, disobedient, aggressive, irresponsible, and defiant. They are insecure because they lack guidelines to direct their behavior. However, these children are frequently creative and spontaneous. Although low in both social responsibility and independence, they are usually more cheerful than the conflicted and irritable children of authoritarian parents. Disengaged parents Finally, disengaged detached parents are neither responsive nor demanding.

They may be careless or unaware of the child's needs for affection and discipline. Children whose parents are detached have higher numbers of psychological difficulties and behavior problems than other youngsters. Parental concerns Child's development is affected by family conditions such as divorce, remarriage, and parental employment. The parent-child relationship has a more important influence on the child's psychological development than changes in the composition of the household.

Parenting that is responsive and demanding is related to healthier child development regardless of the parent's marital or employment status. If changes in the parent's marital status or work life disrupt the parent-child relationship, short-term effects on the child's behavior may be noticeable. One goal of professionals who work with families under stress is to help them reestablish healthy patterns of parent-child interaction. Discipline is also a concern of parents.

Children's behavior offers challenges to even the most experienced and effective parents.