Infant-Adult Attachments on the Kibbutz and Their Relation to Socioemotional Development 4 Years Later

David Oppenheim, Abraham Sagi, Michael E. Lamb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The predictive validity of Strange Situation classifications was studied in a sample of infants raised on kibbutzim in Israel. C-type (resistant) attachments are frequently found on Israeli kibbutzim, but the long-term correlates of this "insecure" pattern have not been identified. Fifty-nine kibbutz children, whose attachments to mothers, fathers, and metaplot were assessed in the Strange Situation when they were 11 to 14 months old, were seen again when they were 5 years old to assess their socioemotional development. There were no significant associations between infant-mother and infant-father attachment classifications and indices of later child development, but infants who had B-type attachments to their metaplot were later less ego controlled and more empathic, dominant, purposive, achievement-oriented, and independent than C-group subjects. All these group differences were in the direction predicted on the basis of prior research on the correlates of infant-mother attachment. All the measures of socioemotional development reflected the children's behavior in the children's house at the kibbutz but not at home or with their parents. This may explain, in part, the relatively strong predictive power of attachment status with metapelet as opposed to attachment status with mother and father. Moreover, the results may underscore the central importance of the metapelet (careprovider) as a key figure in the early social life of kibbutz infants. The findings thus raise questions regarding the developmental significance of attachment relationships with various significant adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)427-433
Number of pages7
JournalDevelopmental Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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