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17-08-2020 | Original Paper | Uitgave 11/2020

Journal of Child and Family Studies 11/2020

Mothers’ Attachment Style and Information Processing of Stressful Situations Involving Their Children

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 11/2020
Auteurs:
Efrat Sher-Censor, Nurit Gur-Yaish, Hadas Shiff, Noga Harel-Zeira
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Abstract

This study examined the associations between mothers’ attachment style and their information processing of hypothetical stressful situations involving their children. 219 mothers of preschool-aged and kindergarten-aged children completed an online survey. Mothers were given five vignettes describing hypothetical stressful situations involving their children. They reported the extent to which they expected their children would be distressed; they also reported the extent to which they themselves would cope effectively, would experience varied negative emotions, and would show emotionally focused, distancing, or child-supportive responses. Mothers were then given the Experience in Close Relationships–Revised questionnaire to assess their attachment style. Mothers’ higher avoidant attachment was associated with expectations of less effective coping, increased distancing responses and decreased emotionally focused and child-supportive responses. Less effective coping mediated the link between higher avoidant attachment and decreased support of the children. Mothers’ higher anxious attachment was associated with expectations of increased children’s distress and their own less effective coping, increased negative emotions, and increased distancing and emotionally focused responses. Negative emotions mediated the link between higher anxious attachment and increased emotionally focused responses. Thus, mothers’ information processing of stressful situations involving their children may be colored by their adult attachment experiences.

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