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The Influence of Attachment Pattern on Developmental Changes in Peer Interaction from the Toddler to the Preschool Period

Joseph L. Jacobson and Diane E. Wille
Child Development
Vol. 57, No. 2 (Apr., 1986), pp. 338-347
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
DOI: 10.2307/1130589
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1130589
Page Count: 10
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The Influence of Attachment Pattern on Developmental Changes in Peer Interaction from the Toddler to the Preschool Period
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Abstract

The influence of infant-mother attachment pattern on the development of peer interaction from 2 to 3 years of age was examined longitudinally. Attachment was assessed in the Ainsworth Strange Situation at 18 months. 8 avoidant, 8 secure, and 8 ambivalent focal children were each paired with a same-sex, securely attached unfamiliar playmate. Although frequency of positive initiations did not change with age, the children were more responsive to their peers at age 3, engaged in longer interactive episodes, initiated fewer agonistic encounters, and exhibited less resistance to peer agonism. While attachment pattern did not predict developmental changes in sociability or responsiveness to peers, it did predict changes in the responses directed to the focal child by the playmate. By age 3, secure focal children were receiving the greatest number of positive responses. Among the anxiously attached children, avoidant children were eliciting fewer positive responses, whereas ambivalent children were receiving more disruptive responses, agonistic initiations, and resistance from the peer. Thus, in an initial encounter with an unfamiliar peer, attachment pattern appears to be related more to the child's attractiveness as an interactive partner than to the child's own active interest in engaging in peer interaction.

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