Impact of fathers' alcoholism and associated risk factors on parent-infant attachment stability from 12 to 18 months

Ellen P. Edwards, Rina D. Eiden, Kenneth E. Leonard
2004 Infant Mental Health Journal  
This study examined short-term attachment stability and sought to identify predictors of stability and change within a sample characterized by fathers' alcoholism. Results suggest moderate stability of attachment classifications (60% for mothers, 53% for fathers) from 12 to 18 months. Higher paternal and maternal alcohol symptoms, maternal depression, and maternal antisocial behavior were found in families with stable insecure mother-infant attachment compared to those who were stable secure.
more » ... ther-infant stable insecurity was associated with higher levels of maternal negative affect expression during play. Father-infant stable insecurity was associated with lower levels of paternal positive affect expression and decreased sensitivity during play. Stable insecure children also had higher levels of negative affect during parent-infant interactions and higher negative emotionality during other episodes compared to stable secure children. Results indicate that infants who were insecure at both time points had the highest constellation of family risk characteristics. In the first year of life, an infant's principal task is the development of an attachment to at least one primary caregiver. Attachment security is not a static, traitlike construct, and both stability and change in attachment is anticipated in attachment theory. The majority of earlier studies on attachment stability used the original attachment classifications developed by Ainsworth and Wittig (1969) , and included only mother -infant dyads from middle-class, low-risk samples (e.g.
doi:10.1002/imhj.20027 pmid:19436769 pmcid:PMC2680299 fatcat:orl5m223ejgozgt2u7qn6jrcoa