Child maltreatment, attachment security, and internal representations of mother and mother-child relationships

Erin Pickreign Stronach, Sheree L. Toth, Fred Rogosch, Assaf Oshri, Jody Todd Manly, Dante Cicchetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

93 Scopus citations

Abstract

Attachment security and internal representations of mothers, and of the mother-child relationship, were examined in an ethnically diverse and economically disadvantaged sample of maltreated (N = 92) and nonmaltreated (N = 31) preschool-aged children. Maltreated preschoolers had lower rates of secure attachment and higher rates of disorganized attachment than did nonmaltreated preschoolers. Maltreatment also was associated with less positive global representations of the mother-child relationship relative to the nonmaltreated comparison group. Analyses were conducted to determine whether maltreatment characteristics such as subtype, chronicity, severity, and frequency were associated with attachment organization and with internal representations. Implications of these results for developmental theory and intervention with maltreated children are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-145
Number of pages9
JournalChild Maltreatment
Volume16
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2011

Keywords

  • attachment
  • child and adolescent development
  • preschoolers

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