Behavior problems in late childhood: The roles of early maternal attachment and teacher-child relationship trajectories

Erin E. O'Connor, Brian A. Collins, Lauren Supplee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The purposes of the current study were: (1) to examine the roles of early maternal attachment relationships and teacher-child relationships during childhood for externalizing and internalizing behaviors in late childhood, and (2) to investigate teacher-child relationships, as well as externalizing and internalizing behaviors in early childhood as possible mechanisms linking early maternal attachment relationships to behavior problems in late childhood. Longitudinal data from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Early Child Care Research Network Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development (N = 1140 mothers and children) were used in this investigation. There were three main findings. First, insecure/other maternal attachment relationships in early childhood (i.e., 36 months) were associated with externalizing and internalizing behaviors in late childhood (Grade 5). Second, elevated levels of teacher-child conflict during childhood were associated with externalizing behaviors in late childhood whereas low levels of teacher-child closeness were associated with internalizing behaviors. Third, the effects of insecure/other attachment on externalizing and internalizing behaviors in late childhood were mediated through teacher-child relationships during childhood and early externalizing and internalizing behaviors. Implications for attachment theory are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)265-288
Number of pages24
JournalAttachment and Human Development
Volume14
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2012

Keywords

  • behavior problems
  • insecure/other attachment
  • longitudinal
  • maternal attachment
  • teacher-child relationships

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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