The secure-base phenomenon across cultures: Children's behavior, mothers' preferences, and experts' concepts

Abraham Sagi-Schwartz, German Posada, Yuan Gao, Fang Fang Wu, Roberto Posada, Margarita Tascon, Axel Schöelmerich, Kiyomi Kondo-Ikemura, Wenche Haaland , Berit Synnevaag

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In 1985 the SRCD Monographs series broke with tradition to publish a collection of papers exploring the new growth and directions of attachment theory and research. In the ensuing decade, many of the questions that were posed in that collection-such as, for instance, those concerning cognitive representations of attachment-as well as the methods and analytic approaches used by some of the authors to address these questions (e. g., Q-techniques) are no longer novelties but rather stand as paradigmatic examples of mainstream attachment research. In the present collection, several of the issues raised in the 1985 Monograph are revisited; these include the meaning and implications of attachment in cultures other than the United States and Western Europe (Posada, Gao, et al.), the nature of relations between attachment and temperament constructs (Seifer & Schiller), the links between quality of attachment and the mother's concurrent sensitivity (Pederson & Moran), and the association seen in children between attachment and mood (Lay, Waters, Posada, & Ridgeway). New approaches to traditional questions are explored by examining the relations among a child's different attachment relationships (Sagi et al.) and by constructing strategies for classification of infant-mother attachments on the basis of observations made in the home (Strayer, Verissimo, Vaughn, & Howes); the study of the relation between infant secure-base behavior and maternal support is extended to the investigation of macaque pairs (Kondo-Ikemura & Waters). New questions about links between attachment and other intimate relationships are considered; these include the relation between adults' attachment history and both the quality of their relationship with an intimate partner (Owens et al.) and the organization of secure-base behavior that their child shows in the home (Posada, Waters, Crowell, & Lay). Focusing on recent advances in research on cognitive development, consideration is also given to methodological issues relating to the assessment of young children's mental representations of relationships (Oppenheim & Waters). In all, the aim of the Monograph is both to consolidate our understanding of the empirical advances that have occurred in this domain of research over the last decade and to stimulate investigators to move beyond current understandings as well as current empiricism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-48
JournalMonographs of the Society for Research in Child Development
Issue number2/3
StatePublished - 1995


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