Maternal separation anxiety in infancy: Precursors and outcomes

Anat Scher, Ruth Hershkovitz, Judith Harel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The relationships among aspects of mothers' childhood memories, her maternal anxiety - when separated from her infant and the child's attachment pattern were studied with 58 low risk dyads participating in a longitudinal investigation. It was found that mother's perceived relationships with her own mother significantly predicted her offsprings attachment to her. While maternal separation anxiety was equally characteristic of secure and insecure mothers at early infancy, by the end of the first year preoccupied mothers reported higher levels of maternal anxiety and separation concerns compared to the secure mothers. Although not designed as a clinical study, the present results highlight important psychological constructs and measurements which may be relevant for assessment and intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-111
Number of pages9
JournalChild Psychiatry and Human Development
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1998

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Received September 5, 1997; For Revision November 3, 1997; Accepted April 28, 1998. The research reported in this paper was supported in part by a grant from the Israel Foundation Trustees. A version of the report was presented at the 1st MoscowInterna-tional Multidisciplinary Conference on Infant Mental Health, May 1995. The authors wish to thank Avi Sagi who kindly provided the facilities for conducting the Strange Situation, Nina Koren-Karie and Tirza Joels for classifying the child's attachment, Ofra Mayseles and Lee Gaber for their advice, Sandra Zuckerman for data management. Special thanks are also due to the families whose interest and cooperation made this study possible. Address correspondence to Dr. Anat Scher, Faculty of Education, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel 31905; e-mail:


  • Infants' Attachment
  • Maternal Separation Anxiety
  • Secure/Preoccupied Mothers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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