Father-child attachment stability
Shipley, Madeline Grace
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This study examined paternal depressive symptoms and life stress as moderators of father-child attachment stability from one to three years of age. Fathers reported depressive symptoms and negative life events when their child was 13 months old. Father-child attachment security was assessed observationally when children were 13 months and three years old. Father-child attachment relationships were generally stable, but this stability was moderated by depression and life stress. Specifically, analyses revealed highly stable attachment relationships when fathers experienced higher levels of depressive symptoms and more negative life events. However, there was some instability in the relationship for fathers who reported lower depressive symptoms and negative life events, particularly for those dyads characterized by early insecure attachment. These results provide evidence that both paternal depressive symptoms and paternal life stress affect the stability of early father-child attachment and indicate the need for further study to discern more specific pathways.