Early mother-child attachment quality, its antecedents, and consequences
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The current study aimed to explore the mechanisms of how maternal employment status influences the mother-child attachment quality and how these early childhood experiences operate and are related to later social adjustment. With this aim, this dissertation developed and tested two process models with a sample of 1,364 families from the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development. The first study examined a conditional process model linking maternal employment status during the first year of a child’s life and subsequent attachment quality. Results revealed that mothers’ working status continued to influence later attachment quality through two interrelated mediating mechanisms—depressive symptoms and maternal sensitivity. Also, mothers’ attitudes toward maternal employment moderated the effects of working status on depressive symptoms. The second study examined an integrated model of self-regulation and hostile attributional bias as intrapersonal processes linking attachment security and children’s later social adjustment. Results indicated that early attachment relationships influenced children’s later social adjustment through the developmental continuity of self-regulation and further via time lagged effects from self-regulation to hostile attributional bias.