The combined contribution of maternal sensitivity and disrupted affective communication to infant attachment in an Israeli sample

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Abstract

Maternal sensitivity and disrupted communication are usually considered independently as antecedents of attachment security and attachment disorganization, respectively. This study examined whether considering them jointly allows specific predictions of attachment classifications. The sample (N = 159) was selected from a previous study conducted in Israel between 1991–1993, and over-represented disorganized and ambivalent attachment. Attachment was assessed at 12 months in the Strange Situation Procedure (SSP), sensitivity was assessed from free-play observations at 6 and 12 months, and disrupted communication was coded from the SSP. As hypothesized, high sensitivity and low disruption predicted secure attachment; low sensitivity and high disruption predicted disorganized-insecure attachment or ambivalent attachment; and high sensitivity and high disruption predicted disorganized-secure attachment. Low sensitivity and low disrupted communication did not predict avoidant attachment. The results show that combining maternal sensitivity and disrupted communication improves the precision in identifying maternal antecedents of attachment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)777-794
Number of pages18
JournalAttachment and Human Development
Volume24
Issue number6
Early online date12 Nov 2022
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Keywords

  • Attachment
  • disorganized attachment
  • disrupted affective communication
  • maternal sensitivity
  • mother-infant interaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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