Conflict of interest statement: No conflicts declared.
Infant–mother attachment and the growth of externalizing problems across the primary-school years
Article first published online: 10 JAN 2011
© 2011 The Authors. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. © 2011 Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health
Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
Volume 52, Issue 7, pages 782–791, July 2011
How to Cite
Pasco Fearon, R.M. and Belsky, J. (2011), Infant–mother attachment and the growth of externalizing problems across the primary-school years. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 52: 782–791. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2010.02350.x
- Issue published online: 6 JUN 2011
- Article first published online: 10 JAN 2011
- Manuscript accepted 23 October 2010
- externalizing problems;
- cumulative risk;
Background: Some contend that attachment insecurity increases risk for the development of externalizing behavior problems in children.
Method: Latent-growth curve analyses were applied to data on 1,364 children from the NICHD Study of Early Child Care to evaluate the association between early attachment and teacher-rated externalizing problems across the primary-school years.
Results: Findings indicate that (a) both avoidant and disorganized attachment predict higher levels of externalizing problems but (b) that effects of disorganized attachment are moderated by family cumulative contextual risk, child gender and child age, with disorganized boys from risky social contexts manifesting increases in behavior problems over time.
Conclusions: These findings highlight the potentially conditional role of early attachment in children’s externalizing behavior problems and the need for further research evaluating causation and mediating mechanisms.