We investigated the association of prenatal assessments of mothers' and fathers' self-reported romantic attachment anxiety and avoidance with the time mothers and fathers reported in proximity-focused and exploration-focused engagement with their infants at 9 months postpartum. Our sample of 136 dualearner couples came from a larger longitudinal study of the transition to parenthood. Time in proximityfocused (interactions that emphasize physical or emotional connection) and exploration-focused (activities that stimulate and build knowledge of the world) engagement on workdays and nonworkdays were measured using time diaries. Using actor-partner interdependence models, we found significant acrosspartners associations between romantic attachment and parental engagement. In particular, analyses revealed interesting interactions: fathers higher in avoidance spent more time in exploration-focused engagement on workdays when mothers were more anxious, whereas mothers higher in anxiety spent more time in proximity-focused engagement on nonworkdays when fathers were more avoidant. Moreover, fathers demonstrated a compensatory pattern of engagement in response to mother's greater attachment anxiety or avoidance. Findings support the utility of studying romantic attachment within a family system and extend the literature on correlates of early parental engagement.
- Family systems
- Parent engagement
- Self-reported romantic attachment
- Time diaries
- Transition to parenthood