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New Child–Caregiver Attachment Relationships: Entering Childcare When the Caregiver Is and Is Not an Ethnic Match


Carollee Howes, Graduate School of Education & Information Studies, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1521, USA. Email:


The goal of the research reported in this article was to examine the process of forming attachment to caregivers in children new to childcare. We examined child and adult behaviors and the adult's perception of the child at entry, and the ethnic/racial match between the child and caregiver as predictors of attachment relationship quality measured six months later. Adult perceptions of the child did not predict attachment security. Children who did not share an ethnic heritage with their caregiver and had conflictual interactions with her at entry or at Time 2 had the lowest attachment security at Time 2. Children who shared an ethnic heritage with their caregivers and either did or did not engage in conflictual interaction and children who did not share an ethnic heritage and had low conflict at entry and at Time 2 were similar in security.