|Title||Maternal anxiety, maternal sensitivity, and attachment|
|Author(s)||Stevenson-Hinde, Joan; Chicot, Rebecca; Shouldice, Anne; Hinde, Camilla A.|
|Source||In: Maternal Sensitivity: Mary Ainsworth's Enduring Influence on Attachment Theory, Research, and Clinical Applications Taylor and Francis Inc. - ISBN 9781317608868 - p. 176 - 194.|
|Publication type||Peer reviewed book chapter|
Previous research has related maternal anxiety to insecurity of attachment. Here we ask whether different aspects of maternal sensitivity mediate this link. From a community sample of intact families with 1-3 children, mothers with 4.5-year-olds were selected for low, medium, or high anxiety levels (N=98). Following Mary Ainsworth's lead, our maternal sensitivity measures were primarily based on ratings of direct observations. Six sets of measures were obtained: positive maternal style at home (a mean of four different ratings); providing a sensitive framework, limit setting, allowing autonomy, criticizing/cutting in (each a mean over two laboratory joint tasks); and tensionmaking (a mean of three different ratings in a fear-inducing task). Regression analyses showed firstly that maternal anxiety rather than behavioral inhibition or sex of child was the significant predictor of each maternal sensitivity measure; and secondly that these measures rather than maternal anxiety or sex were the significant predictors of security of attachment. Finally, ANOVA's indicated which sets of maternal ratings were associated with each pattern of attachment (Avoidant, Secure, Ambivalent, or Controlling).