Lack of Trust in Maternal Support is Associated with Negative Interpretations of Ambiguous Maternal Behavior

Simon De Winter, Eva Vandevivere, Theodore E.A. Waters, Caroline Braet, Guy Bosmans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Attachment theory assumes that children who lack trust in maternal availability for support are more inclined to interpret maternal behavior in congruence with their expectation that mother will remain unavailable for support. To provide the first test of this assumption, early adolescents (9–13 years old) were asked to assess whether ambiguous interactions with mother should be interpreted in a positive or a negative way. In our sample (n = 322), results showed that early adolescents’ lack of trust in their mother’s availability for support was related to more negative interpretations of maternal behavior. The associations remained significant after controlling for depressive mood. The importance of these findings for our understanding of attachment theory, attachment stability, and clinical practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)146-151
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Child and Family Studies
Volume25
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

Keywords

  • Attachment
  • Early adolescence
  • Interpretation bias
  • Trust

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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