Associations among Adult Attachment Representations, Maternal Sensitivity, and Infant‐Mother Attachment in a Sample of Adolescent Mothers

Mary J. Ward, Elizabeth A Carlson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

289 Scopus citations

Abstract

Associations among adolescent attachment organization, maternal sensitivity, and infant attachment organization were examined prospectively in 74 teenaged mother‐infant dyads. Pregnant teenagers' attachment organizations predicted both sensitivity and infant‐mother attachments. Mothers classified autonomous (F) in the prenatal period showed higher levels of sensitivity at both 3 and 9 months than mothers classified dismissing (Ds), preoccupied (E), or unresolved (U). Correspondence between maternal attachment (F vs. Ds/E/U) and infant attachment (secure [B] vs. avoidant [A]/resistant [C]/ disorganized [D]) was observed in 58 of 74 (78%) dyads. Exact 4‐group (Ds/E/F/U and A/B/C/D) agreement was observed in 50 of 74 (68%) families. In contrast, associations between maternal sensitivity and infant attachment were not significant, leading to questions about the processes that link attachment representations, maternal behavior, and infant attachment in adolescent mothers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-79
Number of pages11
JournalChild development
Volume66
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1995

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