Secure mother-child attachment has been found to be an important factor in the healthy emotional development of children and has been shown to have effects on child, adolescent, and adult behavior. Previous research has primarily focused on attachment in children who are typically developing. However, little research has been conducted in populations of children with developmental delays. The research thus far has suggested that medical situations, child disabilities and maternal emotions may affect interaction patterns between the mother and the child which may in turn influence the security of the mother-child attachment in children with developmental delays. This study contributes to the literature now available. Seventy-four mothers of 1½- to 2-year-old children in an early intervention program completed a series of questionnaires. Two previously developed pencil-paper measures of attachment behaviors were selected for use in the study due to ease of administration and replication and the need for generalization of measures for use in early intervention programs. The Child Attachment Questionnaire (CAQ) and the Attachment Q-Sort Questionnaire (AQSQ) were completed along with measures of parent stress (Parent Stress Index; PSI), maternal psychological problems (Outcomes Questionnaire-45; OQ), socially desirable responses (Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale; MC), child temperament (Dimensions of Temperament-Revised; DOTS-R), child behavior problems (Child Behavior Checklist-1½-5; CBCL), and a demographic questionnaire. Compared to numbers published in the literature for typically developing children, the CAQ indicated similar percentages of children with developmental delays fell into secure and insecure categories of attachment while the AQSQ indicated a slightly lower degree of secure attachment for this sample. While parenting stress did predict lower attachment security in this study, social desirable responses were not significantly related to attachment. Maternal psychological problems weakly predicted a higher degree of security. For child factors, gender was not related to attachment and a higher degree of difficulty of temperament predicted lower attachment security. Both paper-pencil measures of attachment were statistically found to be stable over one year’s time. As hypothesized, secure attachment was inversely related to behavior problems one year later. Conclusions and clinical implications of these findings are provided and may assist psychologists and early intervention programs in identifying attachment problems and treating with children with developmental delays.
|Advisor:||Peacock, Gretchen G.|
|Commitee:||Boyce, Lisa, Field, Clint, Gilbertson, Donna, Innocenti, Mark|
|School:||Utah State University|
|Department:||Education and Human Services|
|School Location:||United States -- Utah|
|Source:||DAI-B 72/03, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Early childhood education, Special education, Developmental psychology|
|Keywords:||Attachment, Developmental delays, Mother-child relationship, Preschool, Problem behaviors|
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