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Key Factors Influencing Infant Attachment Security with Mothers and Fathers
Principal Investigator: Patty Kuo
Co-Principal Investigators: Rebecca Brock
Funding Agency: Office of Research and Economic Development—Layman Award
Award Date: Aug 1, 2020
End Date: Jul 31, 2022
Infant-parent attachment security is critical to understanding child development; secure attachment during infancy predicts beneficial socio-emotional outcomes throughout one’s life. Likewise, insecure attachment predicts maladaptive developmental outcomes for children.
Infants form secure attachments when a parent is consistently sensitive to their cues. Additionally, research on the infant’s development of secure attachment to mothers via a history of sensitive caregiving assumes that these processes are the same with attachment to fathers.
To truly understand the development of infant attachment, infant-mother and infant-father attachment must be considered jointly (i.e., a configuration approach), along with the role parent sensitivity and availability play in how attachment develops.
This project’s aims to identify key factors that influence attachment to provide a foundation for improving children’s outcomes, and to increase understanding of how attachment configurations are formed based on variations in parental sensitivity and availability, such as accessibility to the infant. Pilot data will be used for a proposed study to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) which will establish both predictors and outcomes of attachment to mothers and fathers.
Early Education & Development, Psychosocial Development & Social-Emotional Learning
Patty Kuo, assistant professor of child, youth and family studies, is leading a pilot project to explore how attachment security to mothers and fathers develops in a baby’s first 18 months — and how those attachment configurations predict outcomes in the child’s first three years.