A secure base from which to regulate: Attachment security in toddlerhood as a predictor of executive functioning at school entry

Annie Bernier, Miriam H. Beauchamp, Stephanie M. Carlson, Gabrielle Lalonde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

38 Scopus citations

Abstract

In light of emerging evidence suggesting that the affective quality of parent-child relationships may relate to individual differences in young children's executive functioning (EF) skills, the aim of this study was to investigate the prospective associations between attachment security in toddlerhood and children's EF skills in kindergarten. Mother-child dyads (N = 105) participated in 2 toddlerhood visits in their homes, when children were 15 months and 2 years of age. Mother-child attachment security was assessed with the Attachment Q-Sort during both these visits. When children were in kindergarten (ages 5-6), they were administered a battery of EF tasks, and their teachers completed the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function to assess children's EF problems. The results indicated that kindergarteners who were more securely attached to their mothers in toddlerhood showed better performance on all EF tasks, and were considered by their teachers to present fewer EF problems in everyday school situations. These results held above family socioeconomic status (SES) and child age, sex, and general cognitive functioning. The fact that early attachment security uniquely predicted both teacher reports and children's objective EF task performance suggests that parent-child attachment may be a promising factor to consider in the continuing search for the social antecedents of young children's EF.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1177-1189
Number of pages13
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Volume51
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015

Keywords

  • Attachment
  • Executive functioning
  • Kindergarten
  • School entry

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