Attachment Security: The Role of Infant, Maternal, and Contextual Factors
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Research addressing the antecedents of attachment security has traditionally focused on maternal sensitivity, but it has become increasingly clear that attachment security is multiply determined, with infant, maternal, and contextual antecedents playing an important role in its development. This study seeks to extend previous work by examining variables within each of these categories in relation to attachment security. Specifically, it was hypothesized that the relationship between infant negative emotionality and attachment security would be mediated by both maternal parenting efficacy and maternal sensitivity. Infant negative emotionality, parenting efficacy, and maternal sensitivity were assessed when the infants were age 4 months; attachment security was assessed when the infants were age 12 months. Significant relationships were found between attachment security and maternal parenting efficacy and maternal sensitivity, but not infant negative emotionality. Thus, the proposed mediational model was not supported. However, when entered into a regression with other predictors, infant negative emotionality emerged as a significant predictor of attachment security, suggesting parenting variables may be acting as suppressor variables. A simple mediation model, wherein the relationship between attachment security and infant difficulty was hypothesized to be mediated by maternal sensitivity was also tested but not supported. Implications of this research and future directions for research are discussed.