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Moving beyond the mother–child dyad: exploring the link between maternal sensitivity and siblings’ attachment styles

Moving beyond the mother–child dyad: exploring the link between maternal sensitivity and siblings’ attachment styles
Moving beyond the mother–child dyad: exploring the link between maternal sensitivity and siblings’ attachment styles
Attachment theory asserts that secure attachment representations are developed through sensitive and consistent caregiving. If sensitive caregiving is a constant characteristic of the parent, then siblings should have concordant attachment classifications. The authors explored maternal attachment quality assessed by the Attachment Q-Set, maternal sensitivity, and specific mother–child interactions between siblings. Hour-long observations took place in the homes of 9 preschool sibling pairs and their immediate caregivers. The interactions were analyzed using a modified version of Bales’ Small Group Analysis. The results reveal attachment discordance in a third of sibling pairs. While maternal sensitivity was higher with older siblings and mothers displayed more positive emotions when interacting with their younger siblings, attachment quality was not associated with birth order. Therefore, a shift toward a more contextual, family-based perspective of attachment is recommended to further understand how attachment strategies are created and maintained within the child's everyday context.
0022-1325
287-300
Kennedy, Mark
ce519bfe-fe41-455f-94ce-f2c2658f0777
Betts, Lucy R.
adab9729-85bb-4009-9344-6d2eb1fed271
Underwood, Jean D.M.
28216fdf-e6ff-4b2a-ac16-d6ec1e35fed6
Kennedy, Mark
ce519bfe-fe41-455f-94ce-f2c2658f0777
Betts, Lucy R.
adab9729-85bb-4009-9344-6d2eb1fed271
Underwood, Jean D.M.
28216fdf-e6ff-4b2a-ac16-d6ec1e35fed6

Kennedy, Mark, Betts, Lucy R. and Underwood, Jean D.M. (2014) Moving beyond the mother–child dyad: exploring the link between maternal sensitivity and siblings’ attachment styles. Journal of Genetic Psychology, 175 (4), 287-300. (doi:10.1080/00221325.2014.885879). (PMID:25175679)

Record type: Article

Abstract

Attachment theory asserts that secure attachment representations are developed through sensitive and consistent caregiving. If sensitive caregiving is a constant characteristic of the parent, then siblings should have concordant attachment classifications. The authors explored maternal attachment quality assessed by the Attachment Q-Set, maternal sensitivity, and specific mother–child interactions between siblings. Hour-long observations took place in the homes of 9 preschool sibling pairs and their immediate caregivers. The interactions were analyzed using a modified version of Bales’ Small Group Analysis. The results reveal attachment discordance in a third of sibling pairs. While maternal sensitivity was higher with older siblings and mothers displayed more positive emotions when interacting with their younger siblings, attachment quality was not associated with birth order. Therefore, a shift toward a more contextual, family-based perspective of attachment is recommended to further understand how attachment strategies are created and maintained within the child's everyday context.

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Published date: 14 April 2014
Organisations: Psychology

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 369205
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/369205
ISSN: 0022-1325
PURE UUID: 757af487-dc4a-422a-b4d3-56c8176c30f1

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Date deposited: 30 Sep 2014 10:49
Last modified: 19 Jul 2019 21:01

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