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Title:Infant-father attachment: Infant and father antecedents
Author(s):McHale, Jean Loretta
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Mangelsdorf, Sarah C.
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Psychology, Developmental
Psychology, Personality
Sociology, Individual and Family Studies
Abstract:Although much research has been done examining the antecedents of infant-mother attachment, far less research has explored the antecedents of infant-father attachment. This study examines paternal and infant antecedents of infant-father attachment in the first year. One-hundred-twenty infant-father dyads participated in a home observation when the infants were six-months-old. Fathers completed questionnaires about their own personality and involvement, and about infant temperament. In addition, paternal behavior was observed in two situations and rated for interactive behaviors such as sensitivity and intrusiveness. Infant temperament (anger, fear, positive affect) was observed using a modified version of Goldsmith and Rothbart's Laboratory Temperament Assessment Battery. When the infants were 12-months-old, father-infant attachment security was assessed in Ainsworth's Strange Situation. The final sample consisted of 88 father-infant dyads who completed both assessments. Paternal negative affectivity, a personality dimension resembling neuroticism, differentiated resistant dyads from secure and avoidant dyads. Fathers of resistant infants were higher on negative affectivity. Fathers' reports of smiling and laughter and observations of infant motor anger distinguished avoidant from resistant infants. Avoidant infants were perceived to show more smiling and laughter, while resistant infants were rated as higher on motor anger. Discriminant analysis was used to examine the joint contribution of paternal and infant characteristics to attachment security. The analysis correctly classified 80.7% of the cases, a rate of 63% greater than chance. On the first function, which was characterized by high infant motor anger, low infant smiling and laughter, and low paternal positive affectivity, resistant dyads scored highest. The second function was characterized by low paternal negative affectivity and higher family income. Secure dyads had the highest mean on this function. Thus, attachment classification was successfully predicted by a combination of paternal and infant characteristics, supporting a transactional approach to understanding the antecedents of infant-caregiver attachment.
Issue Date:1996
Rights Information:Copyright 1996 McHale, Jean Loretta
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9702607
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9702607

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