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, 11 (1), 29-46

Adult Attachment, Couple Attachment, and Children's Adaptation to School: An Integrated Attachment Template and Family Risk Model

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Adult Attachment, Couple Attachment, and Children's Adaptation to School: An Integrated Attachment Template and Family Risk Model

Philip A Cowan et al. Attach Hum Dev.

Abstract

Most attachment theorists assume that parenting style is the central mechanism linking the quality of parents' attachment with their parents and adaptation in their children. Outside the attachment tradition, family risk models assume that many family factors affect children's adaptation, chief among them being couple relationship quality. The present study tests an integrated model that considers both theoretical and empirical links between attachment theory and family risk research. Seventy-three fathers and mothers whose first child was about to make the transition to elementary school were administered the Adult Attachment Interview and a new Couple Attachment Interview. The parents were also observed in separate visits during kindergarten year in interaction with each other and with their child. At the end of first grade, we obtained children's academic achievement test results and teachers' checklist observations of internalizing and externalizing behaviors. Structural equations revealed that a family risk model that includes information from working models of attachment and observations of couple interaction predicts substantial variation in children's adaptation to elementary school.

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