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A Journal on Psychiatry, Psychology and Psychopharmacology
Official Journal of the Italian Society of Social Psychiatry
Indexed/Abstracted in: EMBASE, e-psyche, PsycINFO, Scopus
Minerva Psichiatrica 2016 March;57(1):10-21
A longitudinal study of attachment and caregiving representations among Swiss mother-child dyads
Maria ZACCAGNINO, Martina CUSSINO, Stefania BORGI, Silvia VIANZONE, Antonella CARASSA
Institute for Public Communication Italian Switzerland, University Lugano, Switzerland
BACKGROUND: Several longitudinal studies have stressed the role of a positive quality of caregiving, a sensitive maternal response to child needs and a high reflective functioning in developing a healthy parent child relationship and future positive child outcome. The present study is aimed at investigate the role of the attachment and caregiving representations, reflective functioning and the quality of mother-child interaction within the mother-child relationship in a Swiss non clinical sample.
METHODS: The longitudinal project involved a cohort of mothers from their last trimester of pregnancy until their child reached 24 months of age, through four points of assessment. The sample was composed by 62 dyads who have been administered with all measures (AAI, PDI, Mother-Child Interaction Scales).
RESULTS: The AAI distribution of our sample differs significantly from other non-clinical sample: women of our sample are more often insecure than secure, with respect their state of mind regarding past attachment experience, and the insecure attachments included mostly dismissing and unresolved classifications. Mothers with at least an alternative supportive figure during their childhood, compared to those who had not, showed higher scores on PDI scales like Level Child Focus, Attachment Awareness, Parent Reflection relationship and Richness Perception Scales. These mothers showed also higher scores on Availability, Sensitivity and Acceptance Scales in both free and structured play.
CONCLUSION: The results of this study have important implications for theory, research and clinical practice, pointing out that even in non-clinical samples some potential risk factors can be traced for the future development of the mother-child attachment relationship and for the well-being of the child and mother themselves.