Morehead State University

Poster Title

Parenting and Attachment among Families in Eastern Kentucky

Institution

Morehead State University

Abstract

Attachment is considered to be a “state of mind” about close relationships, including rules that guide parenting. Parents’ attachment has been found to predict parenting behaviors such as warmth and sensitivity, influencing the likelihood their children will become securely attached themselves. The objective of the current study is to examine how parental attachment influences parenting among families in Eastern Kentucky. Thirty-eight low-income parents and their preschoolers have participated. Parenting was measured with questionnaires and ratings of behavior during two parent-child interaction tasks. Parental attachment was assessed via an interview in which parents discussed their childhood relationships with their own parents, including how they were disciplined, how they were responded to when upset, and the effects these relationships have had on them. Parents were classified as securely attached if their responses were consistent, detailed, coherent, mostly positive in content, and insightful, as well as responsive, highly engaged, and primarily positive in mood. Findings favored parents who were classified as secure, relative to those who were insecure. Secure parents perceived their own parenting behaviors as more nurturing and consistent, and ratings of parenting behaviors suggested that they were more warm, empathic, and encouraging with their children. Additional interview data is being rated that involves parent’s perceptions of the quality of relationships they have with their children. The current results have important implications for the timing and type of interventions that are needed to prevent the “handing down” of insecure attachments from parent to child.

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Parenting and Attachment among Families in Eastern Kentucky

Attachment is considered to be a “state of mind” about close relationships, including rules that guide parenting. Parents’ attachment has been found to predict parenting behaviors such as warmth and sensitivity, influencing the likelihood their children will become securely attached themselves. The objective of the current study is to examine how parental attachment influences parenting among families in Eastern Kentucky. Thirty-eight low-income parents and their preschoolers have participated. Parenting was measured with questionnaires and ratings of behavior during two parent-child interaction tasks. Parental attachment was assessed via an interview in which parents discussed their childhood relationships with their own parents, including how they were disciplined, how they were responded to when upset, and the effects these relationships have had on them. Parents were classified as securely attached if their responses were consistent, detailed, coherent, mostly positive in content, and insightful, as well as responsive, highly engaged, and primarily positive in mood. Findings favored parents who were classified as secure, relative to those who were insecure. Secure parents perceived their own parenting behaviors as more nurturing and consistent, and ratings of parenting behaviors suggested that they were more warm, empathic, and encouraging with their children. Additional interview data is being rated that involves parent’s perceptions of the quality of relationships they have with their children. The current results have important implications for the timing and type of interventions that are needed to prevent the “handing down” of insecure attachments from parent to child.