Objective: This study on attachment in children with recurrent asthmatic bronchitis and their mothers addresses three issues. The first aim was to test whether children affected by recurrent asthmatic bronchitis more often display an insecure pattern of attachment in comparison with healthy children. The second aim was to verify whether the distribution of adult attachment representations in the mothers of children affected by recurrent asthmatic bronchitis is different from the one shown by the mothers of the healthy comparison group. The third aim was to investigate intergenerational transmission of attachment.
Methods: Sixty Italian children, aged between 2 and 5 years, and their mothers participated in the study. The Adult Attachment Interview and the Attachment Q-Sort were used to assess, respectively, the security of mothers' attachment representations and of mother-child attachment.
Results: Children affected by recurrent asthmatic bronchitis appeared to be less secure in comparison with healthy children. Their mothers showed a higher percentage of insecure attachment representations. Finally, the intergenerational transmission of attachment was not influenced by the preclinical condition of the children.
Conclusions: We propose a model of genetic and social transmission of insecure attachments in families struggling with asthma.