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Temperament and Attachment Security in the Strange Situation: An Empirical Rapprochement

Jay Belsky and Michael Rovine
Child Development
Vol. 58, No. 3 (Jun., 1987), pp. 787-795
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
DOI: 10.2307/1130215
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1130215
Page Count: 9
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Temperament and Attachment Security in the Strange Situation: An Empirical Rapprochement
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Abstract

In response to Frodi and Thompson's recent demonstration that infants classified A1-B2 in the Strange Situation differ significantly in emotional expression from infants classified B3-C2, several longitudinal data sets were examined to determine whether these group differences might be a function of infant temperament. Data from 3 separate samples revealed significant concordance between infant-mother and infant-father Strange Situation classifications when scored in terms of A1-B2 versus B3-C2, but not when scored in terms of the traditional A-B-C system. In addition, in 2 samples on which newborn behavioral data were available. A1-B2 infants displayed more autonomic stability than B3-C2 infants, and in one of the samples the former infants were more alert and positively responsive as newborns (with means in the same direction in Sample 2). Moreover, mothers of A1-B2 infants described their babies as less difficult to care for at 3 months of age. Considered together, these findings suggest that infant temperament affects the manner in which security or insecurity is expressed rather than whether or not the infant develops a secure or insecure attachment. These findings are discussed in terms of their implications for the study of the interactional antecedents and the developmental consequences of attachment security.

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