A Secure Base from which to Cooperate: Security, Child and Parent Willing Stance, and Adaptive and Maladaptive Outcomes in two Longitudinal Studies
Early secure attachment plays a key role in socialization by inaugurating a long-term mutual positive, collaborative interpersonal orientation within the parent-child dyad. We report findings from Family Study (community mothers, fathers, and children, from age 2 to 12, N = 102, 51 girls) and Play Study (exclusively low-income mothers and children, from age 3.5 to 7, N = 186, 90 girls). We examined links among observed secure attachment at toddler age, child and parent receptive, willing stance to each other, observed in parent-child contexts at early school age, and developmental outcomes. The developmental outcomes included parent-rated child antisocial behavior problems and observed positive mutuality with regard to conflict issues at age 12 in Family Study, and mother-rated child antisocial behavior problems and observed child regard for rules and moral self at age 7 in Play Study. In mother-child relationships, the child’s willing stance mediated indirect effects of child security on positive mutuality in Family Study and on all outcomes in Play Study. In father-child relationships, both the child’s and the parent’s willing stance mediated indirect effects of child security on both outcomes. Early security initiates an adaptive developmental cascade by enlisting the child and the parent as active, willingly receptive and cooperative agents in the socialization process. Implications for children’s parenting interventions are noted.
Publisher URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10802-017-0352-z
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