Robert Weis

Publication Date


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


Attachment behavior in children; Mother and infant


The present study tested an explanatory model of mother-infant attachment. In this model, the deleterious effects of maternal stress on the quality of the attachment relationship are mediated by maternal positive and negative affect. Forty low-risk mother-infant dyads participated in the study. Infants ranged from 12 to 18 months of age at the time of participation. Mothers completed questionnaires about their caregiving practices, daily stressors, life events, perceptions of their infants, and mood. Dyads also participated in the strange situation procedure to assess attachment quality. Mothers classified as having insecure attachment relationships with their infants described their infants as more moody and demanding, experienced more daily hassles, and viewed themselves as highly competent parents yet trapped by their caregiving roles. Sequential discriminant function analysis revealed that attachment classification could be predicted with 80 percent accuracy from maternal reports of stress after correcting for chance agreement. Positive and negative affect mediated the relationship between parenting stress and attachment classification, supporting the hypothesized model.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [76]-83)


106 pages




Northern Illinois University

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