Levels of attachment disorganization: its precursors and pathways toward maladaptation Public Deposited

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Last Modified
  • March 21, 2019
Creator
  • Wang, Feihong
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
Abstract
  • This dissertation research examined both the etiology of attachment disorganization and the pathways from attachment disorganization levels at 12 months to maladaptation at 36 months. Regarding the etiology of attachment disorganization, hypotheses were made that parental harsh and negative behaviors would be a significant predictor of children's attachment disorganization levels at 12 months in the Strange Situation Procedure within a diverse community sample. Additionally, moderational mechanisms were tested in the association between harsh and negative parenting and children's disorganization levels in attachment. Regarding the pathways from attachment disorganization to maladaptation at 36 months, the direct link between the two constructs were tested first, and then multiple moderational pathways were examined in the association between early attachment disorganization levels and externalizing behaviors at 36 months. This research found that harsh negative parenting was a significant predictor of children's levels of disorganization in attachment. In addition, this association was contingent on the levels of parental belief in discipline and control in that harsher and more negative parenting was significantly related to children's levels of attachment disorganization at 12 months only when it was paired with strong parental belief in discipline and control,. In contrast, when children had difficult temperament at 6 months, it was only when parents held very weak beliefs in discipline and control that children were at the higher risk for attachment disorganization. When examining the pathways toward maladaptation, this research found that attachment disorganization levels was a significant predictor of children's externalizing behaviors at 36 months. This link was also contingent on the number of children at home in that higher levels of disorganization were associated with higher externalizing behaviors only when there were one or more siblings living at home. In addition, child difficult temperament at 12 months served as a unique predictor of children's externalizing behaviors at 36 months above and beyond the prediction of attachment disorganization levels which suggests multiple avenues in the development of early externalizing behaviors. In sum, this research highlights the importance of examining the specific conditions under which risk or maladaptation may arise.
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  • In Copyright
Note
  • "... in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the Department of Psychology."
Advisor
  • Cox, Martha
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
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Place of publication
  • Chapel Hill, NC
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  • Open access
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