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, 6 (1), 31-52

Adult Attachment Style and Parental Responsiveness During a Stressful Event

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Adult Attachment Style and Parental Responsiveness During a Stressful Event

Robin S Edelstein et al. Attach Hum Dev.

Abstract

Despite widespread use of self-report measures of adult attachment, relatively little research has explored the predictive utility of these measures in the domain of parent-child relationships. The present study examined the association between self-reported attachment style and parental responsiveness during a stressful event. Children and their parents were observed while children received an inoculation at a county immunization clinic. Children's reactions to the inoculation were rated and parents' responsiveness was assessed with the Emotional Availability Scales (EAS). Results revealed that children of parents scoring high on self-reported attachment avoidance were more distressed during the inoculation than children of parents scoring low on avoidance. Moreover, parents high on avoidance were less responsive when children were highly distressed, whereas this pattern was reversed among parents scoring low on avoidance. Finally, the influence of adult attachment on parental behavior and children's distress was found to be independent of children's temperament and parental personality. These findings suggest that self-report adult attachment measures may be useful in the domain of parent-child relationships.

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