Is attachment transmitted across generations? The plot thickens

Prachi E. Shah, Peter Fonagy, Lane Strathearn, Rudi Dallos, Patricia M. Crittenden
2010 Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry  
Studies have demonstrated a strong relation between adult attachment security, using the Adult Attachment Interview (AAI), and infant security, using the Strange Situation Procedure (SSP). This suggests that a mother's representations of attachment may influence the development of her infant's attachment to her. This study both confirms and modifies that finding in a cohort of 47 first-time mothers and their infants. The AAIs were administered during the third trimester of pregnancy and the
more » ... were performed when the infant was 14 months of age. The AAIs were classified using Crittenden's Dynamic-Maturational Model (DMM) and the SSPs using both the DMM and also Main and Solomon's ABC+D methods. There was a significant match of patterns for secure mothers and babies, but a tendency for inversion of insecure patterns of attachment, i.e., Type A mothers often had infants with a Type C pattern and vice versa. No significant relation was seen between the DMM adult and ABC+D infant patterns of attachment. A significant, but modest, association was found between the DMM and ABC+D infant SSP classifications. These findings may help guide treatment of insecure mother-infant dyads by individualizing interventions to include a focus on maternal representations of the infant and maternal responses to infant behavior.
doi:10.1177/1359104510365449 pmid:20603421 pmcid:PMC3060612 fatcat:iizjua3ggff4teavpkjvmcq33m