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Emotion Dialogues Between Mothers and Children at 4.5 and 7.5 Years: Relations With Children's Attachment at 1 Year


  • This research was supported by grants from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (Grant 1RO HD 25975) and the Israel Science Foundation (Grants 812/95 and 741/99.) The authors would like to thank Rachel Bransky, Yael Cohen, Galit Gross, Tirtsa Joels, Motti Gini, Yair Ziv, Ayelet Etzion-Carasso, and Zipi Haimovich for their help in collecting and coding the data.

concerning this article should be addressed to David Oppenheim, Center for the Study of Child Development, University of Haifa, Haifa 31905, Israel. Electronic mail may be sent to


It was examined whether secure infant–mother attachment contributes to emotionally congruent and organized mother–child dialogues about emotions in later years. The attachment of 99 children was assessed using the Strange Situation at the age of 1 year and their emotion dialogues with their mothers were assessed at the ages of 4.5 and 7.5 years. Dialogues were about past emotional events and separation of a child from parents, and were classified into an emotionally matched group or 1 of 3 non-emotionally matched groups. Security in infancy was associated with emotionally matched dialogues at the age of 4.5; there was moderate stability in dialogues between 4.5 and 7.5 years; and infant attachment predicted dialogues at 7.5 beyond the prediction offered by age 4.5 dialogues.