Maternal personality as a moderator of relations between difficult infant temperament and attachment security in low-income families

  • Ispa J
  • Fine M
  • Thornburg K
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Abstract

The primary purpose of the current study was to determine whether maternal proneness-tostress (stress reactivity and alienation) moderates the relation between infant difficult temperament and attachment security in a sample of 82 inner-city, low-income, primarily single and African American young mothers. The mothers completed adult personality and infant temperament questionnaires when their infants were approximately 10 months old. Attachment was measured when the infants were approximately a year old. Infant temperamental difficultness and maternal stress reactivity were inversely related to infant attachment security. Maternal alienation was unrelated to infant attachment security. Maternal stress reactivity and alienation moderated the link between infant fearfulness and attachment, but not the link between infant distress to limitations and attachment. Contrary to expectations, negative relations between infant fearfulness and attachment emerged only when mothers were low in stress reactivity or low or medium in alienation.

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Authors

  • Jean M. Ispa

  • Mark A. Fine

  • Kathy R. Thornburg

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