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26-06-2020 | Original Paper | Uitgave 8/2020

Journal of Child and Family Studies 8/2020

Linking Attachment and Executive Function Systems: Exploring Associations in a Sample of Children of Young Mothers

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 8/2020
Auteurs:
Meera Menon, Rachel C. Katz, M. Ann Easterbrooks
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Abstract

Attachment and executive function (EF) are two related systems that develop early in life and may mediate associations between care experiences and later functioning. Though theoretically related, the associations between attachment and EF have not been fully explored among children experiencing adversity. In the current study, we took a person-centered approach to examining attachment representations and EF among children of adolescent mothers. Using Latent Profile Analysis, we identified three groups of attachment representations: a “secure” group, an “insecure-avoidant” group, and an “insecure-disorganized” group. We then explored differences in EF performance across the identified groups. Our results indicated that the “secure” group generally outperformed the “insecure-disorganized” and “insecure-avoidant” groups. Though the “insecure-avoidant” group generally outperformed the “insecure-disorganized” group, significant differences were found only on one task. Our findings document links between attachment and EF among children experiencing adversity and may suggest that prevention or intervention efforts to support the development of secure attachments will also foster optimal EF, those higher-order cognitive processes that drive goal-directed behavior.

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