Does secure base script knowledge mediate associations between observed parental caregiving during childhood and adult romantic relationship quality and health?

Or Dagan, Renate S.M. Buisman, Marissa D. Nivison, Theodore E.A. Waters, Brian E. Vaughn, Kelly K. Bost, Maria E. Bleil, Deborah Lowe Vandell, Cathryn Booth-LaForce, Glenn I. Roisman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Increasingly, attachment representations are being assessed via secure base script knowledge–the degree to which individuals show awareness of the temporal-causal schema that summarizes the basic features of seeking and receiving effective support from caregivers during times of need. Limited research has assessed the links between secure base script knowledge and aspects of adult functioning and the role that secure base script knowledge may play in accounting for associations between early caregiving quality and adulthood functioning. We used follow-up assessments of the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development cohort (N = 585) to examine whether secure base script knowledge at age 18 years: (a) is associated with later romantic relationship quality, depressive symptoms, and body mass index (BMI) at age 26 years, and (b) mediates expected associations between the quality of maternal and paternal sensitivity across the first 15 years of life and age-26 outcomes. More access to, and elaborated knowledge of the secure base script predicted less extreme hostility with romantic partners, and better emotional and physical health. Moreover, secure base script knowledge mediated the links between early maternal and paternal sensitivity and both later romantic partner hostility and depressive symptoms, but not BMI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAttachment and Human Development
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • depressive symptoms
  • Parental sensitivity
  • physical health
  • romantic relationships
  • secure base script knowledge

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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