Secure base representations in middle childhood across two western cultures: Associations with parental attachment representations and maternal reports of behavior problems

Theodore E.A. Waters, Guy Bosmans, Eva Vandevivere, Adinda Dujardin, Harriet S. Waters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Recent work examining the content and organization of attachment representations suggests that 1 way in which we represent the attachment relationship is in the form of a cognitive script. This work has largely focused on early childhood or adolescence/adulthood, leaving a large gap in our understanding of script-like attachment representations in the middle childhood period. We present 2 studies and provide 3 critical pieces of evidence regarding the presence of a script-like representation of the attachment relationship in middle childhood. We present evidence that a middle childhood attachment script assessment tapped a stable underlying script using samples drawn from 2 western cultures, the United States (Study 1) and Belgium (Study 2). We also found evidence suggestive of the intergenerational transmission of secure base script knowledge (Study 1) and relations between secure base script knowledge and symptoms of psychopathology in middle childhood (Study 2). The results from this investigation represent an important downward extension of the secure base script construct.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1013-1025
Number of pages13
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Volume51
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015

Keywords

  • Attachment
  • Middle childhood
  • Psychopathology
  • Secure base script

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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