Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


The purpose of this study was to test hypotheses derived from attachment theory relating quality of the infant-mother attachment relationship to maternal variables of sensitivity to infant cues, perspective taking, knowledge about infancy, attitudes toward children, personality, perceptions of own child-rearing, and social support. Fifty twelve-month-old infants and their mothers were videotaped at a laboratory in the Ainsworth strange situation and in a brief questionnaire situation designed to reveal individual differences in maternal sensitivity to infant cues. A laboratory interview with mothers was the source of data used in assessing perspective taking ability. Mothers completed at home questionnaires regarding knowledge about infants, attitudes toward children, personality, perceptions of own child rearing, and social support.;Measures of maternal sensitivity to infant cues distinguished between mothers of securely and anxiously attached infants on analysis of variance tests; when entered into a discriminant function analysis, the maternal sensitivity scores were combined to correctly classify as securely or anxiously attached 91 percent of infants. Measures of maternal social support were also related to attachment classification. No evidence in support of a link between infant attachment classification and maternal perspective taking ability, knowledge about infants, attitudes toward children, personality, or perceptions of own childrearing was found.;The implications of the results for attachment theory are discussed. Opportunities for future research directions are suggested.



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