Infant temperament and maternal sensitivity as predictors of attachment security

Amy Susman-Stillman, Mark Kalkoske, Byron Egeland, Irwin Waldman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


This study investigated contributions of infant irritability, sociability, and maternal sensitivity to attachment security in a high-risk sample. Moderator, mediator, and additive models tested hypotheses that maternal sensitivity determines security and that temperament influences type of insecurity and subcategory placement. Composite measures of temperament and observational ratings of maternal sensitivity at 0-3 and 6 months predicted 12-month attachment classifications and subcategory placement. Interaction of 3-month maternal sensitivity and infant irritability predicted security (moderator model). Six-month sensitivity independently predicted security (additive model) and mediated the relation between irritability and security (mediator model). Maternal sensitivity distinguished secure and insecure infants. Three- and 6-month temperament independently predicted type of insecurity and subcategory placement. An integrative conceptualization of attachment and temperament is supported.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-47
Number of pages15
JournalInfant Behavior and Development
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1996


  • Attachment
  • Maternal sensitivity
  • Parent-child relations
  • Temperament

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