Quality of attachment


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Quality of attachment stability and relationship to family environmental variables
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viii, 75 leaves : ; 29 cm.
Isleib, Roberta Ann, 1953-
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Subjects / Keywords:
Parent-Child Relations   ( mesh )
Socialization   ( mesh )
Social Adjustment -- Child   ( mesh )
Social Adjustment -- Infant   ( mesh )
Child Development   ( mesh )
Clinical and Health Psychology thesis Ph.D   ( mesh )
Dissertations, Academic -- Clinical and Health Psychology -- UF   ( mesh )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )


Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 1985.
Bibliography: leaves 69-74.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Roberta Ann Isleib.
General Note:
General Note:

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University of Florida
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oclc - 16996581
notis - ACW5311
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To ny father

Charles Robert Isleib


The planning and execution of this manuscript have been

extremely complex and demanding. It could not have been

completed without the assistance of many people along the way.

Thanks go first to Suzanne Johnson, Roger Blashfield, Jim

Johnson, Pat Miller, Drew Bradlyn, and Randy Carter for their

supportive and constructive comments during the designing

stages of the study. Suzanne also served as an anchor

throughout my internship year, encouraging me to continue to

make progress in spite of various setbacks and the pull to


Identifying and recruiting subjects was a major hurdle,

for which the input of Jim Siwi, Keith Berg, and Janice Benton

is gratefully acknowledged. Thanks also go to the many

friends who told others about my research and recruited

subjects by word of mouth. Prior to data collection, Jerry

Rudd contributed skill and labor while installing a one-way

mirror and Dan McNeil served as a cheerful video equipment


Ross Thompson kindly reviewed several strange situation

videotapes and made helpful suggestions about the physical

environment, stranger behavior, and timing of the episodes.

Fi Kieffer and her son Christopher, and Dawn Bowers and her

daughter Martina agreed to serve as guinea pigs during the

initial training period. Special thanks are due to Penny

Phelps, Joy Colle, and Katie Kato, who played the difficult

role of the stranger. In addition, Rae Hendlin generously

filled in for one session on a last minute basis, and Roman

Urbana served as an experimenter throughout the study.

Scoring the videotapes proved to be an enormous task,

made possible initially by the training provided by Everett

Waters. Thanks are also due to Mary Jo Ward for her

reliability checks, and most certainly, to Susan Grajek,

without whom the data analysis would have seemed overwhelming.

Don Quinlan kindly allowed me access to his computer, such

that typing and editing the manuscript became manageable.

My most earnest thanks go to my father, C. Robert Isleib,

who painstakingly coded a seemingly endless number of

videotapes, and tolerated my irritability with equanimity in

times when the project lagged. This dissertation is dedicated

to him, not only for his invaluable assistance during this

year, but also in recognition of the unselfish support and

encouragement he has given me in many ways over the past 32


Roberta A. Isleib
New Haven, CT.
September, 1985



ACKNOWLEDGMENTS............... .........................iii

LIST OF TABLES ....... .... .............. ............... vi

ABSTRACT..... .......... ................................vii

INTRODUCTION..... ........... .......................... 1

The Bowlby-Ainsworth Theory of Attachment.......... 1
The Strange Situation............................... 4
Predictive Validity of the ABC Typology............ 11
Stability of the ABC Classification System.......... 13
Effects of Family Environmental Variables........... 24
Aims and Hypotheses of the Study................... 29

METHOD.... .... ... ....................................... 31

Subjects................ .. .......................... .. 31
Materials.......................................... 31
Procedure.............. ........................ 35

RESULTS............................................... .. 38

Reliability......... .............. ...... ......... 38
Stability......................................... 38
Family Environmental Variables..................... 50

DISCUSSION.. ...... ... ...... .......................... 51

APPENDIX A INFORMED CONSENT........................... 62

APPENDIX B STRUCTURED INTERVIEW....................... 65


REFERENCES.... .... ...... .............................. 69

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.. .................................. 75




TABLE 1 Classification of Infants at Test and Retest
in Same Context/Changed Context Groups.......... 43

TABLE 2 Classification of Infants at Test and Retest
for the Current Study and Ainsworth's Sample... 45

TABLE 3 Subgroup Classification at Test and Retest..... 46

TABLE 4 Means and Standard Deviations for Interactive
Ratings............ ...................... ..... 49

TABLE 5 Comparison of Means of Strange Situation
Measures for Sessions One and Two and
Correlations Between Sessions.................. 50

Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy



Roberta Ann Isleib

December 1985

Chairman: Suzanne Bennett Johnson
Major Department: Clinical Psychology

The present study tested the hypothesis that the stability

of attachment classification would be increased if an infant's

recognition of the assessment context was eliminated. Twenty-

nine white, middle-class mothers and their one-year-old

infants were seen twice in the "strange situation" and

classified according to Ainsworth's ABC taxonomy. Half of the

infants were seen two times in the same setting, with the

others seen in two very different settings, presented in

counterbalanced order. It was hypothesized that controlling

for context-specific stress would decrease the occurrence of

intensified attachment behavior in session two. However, no

differences between these groups were found in number of

infants who changed classification from test to retest, or in

four interactive ratings.

Given these findings, the two groups were collapsed in

order to examine short-term stability in the group as a whole.

Sixty-eight percent of the children retained their

classification over time (kappa = -0.116). Next, the

association between short-term stability of infant-mother

attachment and a number of family environmental and

demographic variables was assessed. No significant

differences between retained versus changed classification

subjects emerged on the following variables: social support,

life stress, maternal temperament, infant temperament,

caretaking changes, separations from mother over the first

year, infant sex, birth order, parental age, and maternal

work status.

The second aim of the study was to investigate the

relationship between quality of attachment and family

environmental variables. Using the classifications from the

first session only, the securely attached infants (n = 25)

were compared to those children who were judged anxiously

attached (n = 5). There were no differences on the variables

listed above, with the exception of maternal activity level on

which mothers of securely attached infants scored lower than

mothers of anxiously attached children.

These results are interpreted as lack of support for the

contention that short-term instability in the ABC system can

be explained as an effect of returning to the same setting

twice. The overall low stability in the entire sample is

presented as evidence that research should be directed at

exploring other models for describing and quantifying quality

of mother-infant attachment.


In 1958, Bowlby published an article entitled "The Nature

of the Child's Tie to his Mother" which was the first

exposition of the now widely recognized Bowlby-Ainsworth

ethological theory of attachment. Although many other

theories of attachment have been proposed (e.g., Cairns,

1966; Hoffman & DePaulo, 1977; Gewirtz, 1972), none have

generated as much empirical research or received as much

support from empirical evaluation, as has the Bowlby-Ainsworth

theory (Rajecki, Lamb, & Obmascher, 1978). Some of the focus

on this theory may be attributed to methodological

consistency, in that the "strange situation" paradigm

developed by Ainsworth and colleagues (Ainsworth, Blehar,

Waters, & Wall, 1978) has been widely adopted as the

attachment classification system.

The Bowlby-Ainsworth Theory of Attachment

In developing his theory of attachment, Bowlby drew on

ethological notions of instinctive behavior, control systems

theory, and Freud's concept of object relations, seeking an

explanatory framework for naturalistic observations of

children who had been separated from their mother-figures

(Bowlby, 1958; 1969; 1973). Previous research (e.g.,

Robertson, 1952) had noted that hospitalized children

progressed through predictable stages following separation,

characterized by active protest, despair or hopelessness, and

finally, detachment and apathy. As Ainsworth has been

instrumental in translating Bowlby's ideas into research, as

well as contributing to their elaboration and clarification

(e.g., Ainsworth, 1964; 1973; 1979a), the theory has become

known as the Bowlby-Ainsworth ethological model of attachment.

The Bowlby-Ainsworth model views attachment as a species

general behavior system whose function is to protect the

relatively helpless human infant from predation. Infants are

born with a biological predisposition to seek contact with

adults, which is manifested early on by signalling behaviors

such as crying, smiling, and calling, in addition to searching

and following behaviors as locomotion develops. Adults are

equipped with complementary predispositions to protect

infants. Bowlby originally suggested that the development of

a specific attachment was mediated by the amount of

interaction occurring between the infant and attachment

figure. As a cognitive appreciation for person permanence was

assumed to be a necessary prerequisite, the development of

attachment was not expected to occur until the second half of

the first year of life.

Drawing on control systems theory, Bowlby incorporated

the notion of a set-goal into his attachment model. The set-

goal, defined as the amount of distance from the attachment

figure which the infant will tolerate, is mediated by a

variety of internal (e.g., illness, hunger) and external

(e.g., stress, separation) factors. When the set-goal is

exceeded, the infant should respond with the activation of

attachment behaviors such as signalling or following, which

serve to bring the attachment figure into closer proximity.

Ainsworth (1979b) has suggested that "sensitive

responsiveness" is the quality most likely to foster secure

attachment. She maintained that if the mother-figure

responded appropriately to the infant's signals across the

first year of life, the infant would develop a working model

of the mother as responsive, reliable, and accessible. She

further emphasized that in addition to protection from

predation, attachment facilitates the use of the mother-figure

as a secure base for exploration of the environment. In other

words, an infant who feels confident of the accessibility of

the caretaker is able to expand the range of the set-goal and

engage in adaptive play, exploration, and problem-solving.

Sroufe and Waters (1977) have elaborated on Ainsworth's

conception of attachment, viewing it as an affective tie

between mother and infant, as well as a behavioral system.

Differences in attachment should theoretically be

distinguishable through observation of qualitative differences

in organization of behavior, rather than discrete behaviors.

As many so-called attachment behaviors are functionally

interchangeable, attachment patterns can only be assessed "by

reference to the organization of attachment behaviors with

respect to the caregiver and in consideration of context"

(Sroufe & Waters, 1977, p. 1188). These authors defined the

term affective bond as the infant's experience of security-

insecurity, which is influenced by a variety of factors such

as context, preceding events, and developmental level. The

degree of security which the infant experiences mediates both

proximity-seeking and exploration.

The Strange Situation

Ainsworth and her colleagues (Ainsworth & Wittig, 1969;

Ainsworth, Bell, & Stayton, 1971, 1972; Ainsworth, Blehar,

Waters, & Wall, 1978) have developed a standardized laboratory

paradigm to assess patterns of attachment in one to two year

old infants, called the "strange situation." The procedure

involves the infant, the mother, and a stranger, participating

in eight increasingly stressful episodes in which exploratory

behavior, response to the mother's absence, response to the

stranger, and response to reunion are observed. In episode 1,

the mother and baby are introduced to the experimental room by

an observer, who disappears shortly after this introduction.

During episode 2, the mother is instructed to attempt to

interest the infant in the available toys, and to refrain from

interactions other than responding to the infant's overtures.

Episode 3 involves the first appearance of the stranger, who

sits quietly, then chats with the mother, then becomes more

involved with the child. Finally, the mother leaves the room.

In episode 4, the stranger attempts to engage the baby in

interaction, intervening if the baby becomes distressed at the

mother's absence by distracting him with a toy, talking to

him, or picking him up. The primary behaviors of interest are

the amount of exploration that the baby engages in, as

compared with that occurring when the mother was present, as

well as reaction to separation (e.g., search behaviors,

crying), and response to the stranger. Episode 5 consists of

the mother's return to the room and the stranger's departure.

Of particular interest are the baby's response to the mother

upon her return and their subsequent interaction. When the

infant is sufficiently calm, the mother again leaves the room,

leaving the child alone for episode 6. Again, search

behaviors, vocalizations, and crying are noted. In episode 7,

the stranger renters the room and attempts to comfort and

reengage the infant in play. The baby's response to the

stranger is compared with his interactions with the mother in

previous reunion episodes. Finally, the mother returns,

pausing long enough to allow the baby time for spontaneous

reaction, and the stranger leaves. Each of the episodes lasts

approximately three minutes, with the exception of episode 1,

which lasts approximately 30 seconds. In early research,

trained observers viewed the process of the strange situation

through one-way mirrors and dictated running narratives

throughout, concentrating on the behaviors of the babies and

their interactions with both mother and stranger. The strange

situation was initially developed and standardized on four

samples, consisting of a total of 106 white, middle-class

subjects from the Baltimore area (Ainsworth et al., 1978).

Two observers were used for all but one of the studies, with

both narratives utilized in coding data. Four types of

measures were drawn from the strange situation narratives.

These included frequency counts of specific behaviors, number

of 15 second intervals in which behaviors occurred, scoring of

interactive behavioral variables along a seven point

continuum, and classification of infants into three groups and

eight subgroups, according to behavioral similarities and


Coding in these studies was undertaken by at least two

independent coders who had been carefully trained.

Reliability checks conducted on eight subjects in the second

study revealed reliability coefficients above 0.93 for four

frequency measures. Although frequency counts and interval

estimations were thought to describe attachment behaviors, the

authors felt they did not adequately represent interactional

behavior. Also, since a variety of attachment behaviors are

theoretically interchangeable in terms of functional

significance, frequency counts of single behaviors might

inaccurately reflect the activation of the infant's attachment

system. Furthermore, as the behavior of the mothers could not

be tightly controlled, a system which could be sensitive to

comparisons across situations in spite of individual

differences needed to be devised. Scores of interactive

behavior were designed with these concerns in mind. Six

behavioral variables were described by seven-point scales

which were anchored by behavioral descriptions garnered from

the actual narrative reports of the subjects in samples one

and two. These variables included proximity and contact

seeking, contact maintaining, resistance, avoidance, search,

and distance interaction. Five reliability checks from all of

the samples revealed interscorer reliability coefficients

ranging from 0.75 to 0.97, with a median value of 0.93.

Finally, a classification system was devised by grouping

infants according to their behavioral similarities in as many

of the strange situation episodes as possible. Three major

patterns of behavior were classified. Group A infants,

dubbed anxiously-avoidant, were characterized by a conspicuous

avoidance of interaction with their mothers in the reunion

episodes. Although they tended not to seek proximity with

their mothers, they did not demonstrate resistance to contact.

The stranger was treated similarly to the mother, and minimal

distress was evidenced during episodes of separation. Group

B, the securely attached infants, was characterized by active

proximity-seeking, active seeking of interaction with the

mother during reunion, clear preference for the mother over

the stranger, and, frequently, evidence of distress at the

mother's absence. Group C babies, called ambivalently or

resistantly anxious, displayed contact and interaction

resistance, especially during the final reunion episode.

Resistance was generally manifested by striking out or

squirming away from an available adult or by rejecting

proffered toys. They also tended to seek proximity and

maintain contact, giving an ambivalent impression. In

general, these infants appeared to behave in more maladaptive

ways (either angry or passive) than did infants classified

into the other two groups. Tests of interjudge agreement

suggested that experienced judges identified infants highly

reliably according to the overall groups. Identification of

Group C infants appeared to present the most difficulty to the


Eight subgroups were also formed from the original three.

As these have been used in subsequent research, they will be

briefly described. Infants in subgroup Al displayed the most

conspicuous avoidance of their mothers, in association with

minimal proximity-seeking and contact-maintaining. Subgroup

A2 infants demonstrated a mixed response consisting of both

approach and avoidance. Of the four B subgroups, subgroup B1

babies showed the most distance interaction with their

mothers, and tended not to be distressed during separation.

B2 infants resembled those in group B1, except for an increase

in proximity-seeking. In subgroup B3, the infants were most

likely to seek physical contact with their mothers, while

demonstrating very little avoidance or resistance. (Subgroup

B3 contained the largest number of infants from the

development sample and was considered by the authors to be

the normative group, reflecting the most harmonious mother-

infant relationship.) Subgroup B4 infants appeared preoccupied

with their mothers throughout the strange situation, seeking

contact and proximity, but in a less effective fashion than

B3 babies. Subgroup C1 infants were distinguishable by their

angry appearance, marked both by strong attempts to gain

contact and conspicuous resistant behaviors. Finally, C2

babies appeared passive, involving themselves in limited

exploration and interaction, and using signalling behaviors to

gain proximity to their mothers. Their resistant behaviors

were not as visible as C1 infants. Although the

classification of infants into subgroups has not been

consistently reliable, Ainsworth et al. have emphasized that

instructing raters to attend to these detailed criteria

improved the overall reliability of the three group

classification. Also, the infants in the different subgroups

are hypothesized to have experienced different patterns of

caregiving, such that their attachment differs qualitatively.

In order to test the significance of the multivariate

differences between the three major categories of attachment,

a multiple discriminant function analysis was conducted. This

was also intended to explore whether the variables identified

in the classification instructions were those that best

discriminated the groups. The 73 original variables were

reduced to 22 by eliminating those which did not distinguish

between two groups at the 0.01 level of significance (using

analyses of variance), and those which did not contribute

significantly to 2-group discriminant function analyses (A vs.

B, and B vs. C). One hundred and five subjects were utilized

in the development sample, with two significant discriminant

functions emerging. The discriminant scores successfully

predicted classification of 96% of A infants, 91% of B

infants, and 92% of C infants. A serial cross-validation was

then conducted using unknown subjects from the development

sample. In this procedure, 92% of A infants, 85% of B

infants, and 69% of C infants were correctly classified.

The first discriminant function served to distinguish A

from non-A infants, and the strongest contributing variables

included proximity-seeking and contact-maintaining to the

mother, absence of resistance, interactive behavior with the

stranger, and exploratory behavior and crying. The second

discriminant function, labeled C vs. non-C, correlated highly

with resistance to mother, proximity- and contact-seeking,

resistance to the stranger, crying, and reduced exploratory

behavior. The authors concluded that these analyses validated

the utility of their classification system, although the

discrimination of C from non-C infants was most troublesome,

based on the low percentage of correct classification on cross


The multiple discriminant function analysis described

above suffers from several statistical flaws, and thus the

conclusion drawn by Ainsworth et al. regarding its validation

of their typology is questionable. First, as pointed out by

Connell and Goldsmith (1982), the variables entered into the

analysis were selected on the basis of their previously

identified ability to discriminate between the groups.

Therefore, the discriminant analysis was guaranteed to make

this differentiation and should have correctly classified

close to 100% of the sample. Second, the number of subjects

used in the analysis was considerably smaller than optimal,

considering the total number of variables involved. Given the

small number of subjects utilized, considerable instability of

the results might be expected, and less success predicted if a

replication was performed using a new data set. Finally, the

serial cross-validation procedure used by the authors was

designed to derive, rather than test, the functions, and was

therefore not adequate to assess their value in predicting

group membership for a new sample.

Predictive Validity of the ABC Typology

The long-range utility of the ABC typology depends on its

ability to differentially predict concurrent and future

performance in other arenas of infant competence. Studies

which have been conducted to evaluate the predictive validity

of the ABC classification system have uniformly supported the

more adequate performance of securely attached children on a

variety of social interaction and competence measures. Secure

infants (group B) obtained higher scores than anxious infants

(A and C) on measures of peer competence (Lieberman, 1977;

Pastor, 1981; Waters, Wippman, & Sroufe, 1979), imaginative

play (Matas, Arend, & Sroufe, 1978; Belsky, Garduque, &

Hrncir, 1984), ego resiliency (Arend, Gove, & Sroufe, 1979),

compliance and cooperation (Londerville & Main, 1981),

stranger sociability (Main & Weston, 1981), negotiation of the

environment (Cassidy & Ainsworth, 1983), and toleration of

brief separations at 18 months (Jacobson & Wille, 1984). Two

studies utilized subgroup classifications and found that B12

infants were more independent and interactive during play with

peers than either B3 or B4 children (Easterbrooks & Lamb,

1979), as well as more social with a friendly stranger than

both B34 and C subjects (Thompson & Lamb, 1983). Although

Jacobson, Wille, Tianen, and Aytch (1983) found ambivalent

infants to be more interactive with peers, they interpreted

this as the lack of expected or age-appropriate wariness. In

a longitudinal study, high-risk preschool children who had

maintained stable attachment classifications from 12 to 18

months were independently rated for behavior problems

(Erickson, Sroufe, & Egeland, in press). Group C infants were

rated as being less confident and having poorer social skills

than secure children, and Group A infants were more dependent

and less socially skilled. In general, anxiously attached

children as a group were more likely to be rated by observers

and teachers as having a variety of behavior problems.

In spite of the impressive global consistency of this

research, a major question has been raised which remains to be

addressed. In their critique of the strange situation

classification system, Connell and Goldsmith (1982) noted that

many predictive validity studies lumped ambivalent and

avoidant children into one large "insecure" category, when no

behavioral differences emerged between the groups on dependent

measures. In contrast, clear differences between the groups

did emerge in patterns of behavior in the strange situation.

Only 25% of the studies referred to above found differences

along the lines of the ABC classification, and none of these

were consistently interpretable based on theoretical

predictions. On the other hand, several authors have found

differences between subgroups (Easterbrooks & Lamb, 1979;

Thompson & Lamb, 1983). Given the difficulty researchers have

had in finding behavioral differences between the main groups,

these finer distinctions are puzzling. These inconsistencies

may in fact be reflecting inadequacies in the classification

system, rather than a lack of differences in the children.

Alternatively, differences between the three groups which are

clear in early life (e.g., Ainsworth et al., 1978; Belsky,

Rovine, & Taylor, 1984), may be moderated by later

environmental factors such that the ABC classification loses

predictive power. One aspect of the system which has been the

subject of some contention is stability of classification over

time. Research addressing this issue will be reviewed in the

following section.

Stability of the ABC Classification System

Much of the predictive validity of the ABC classification

system rests on claims for its demonstrated stability across

time. If infants cannot be consistently identified as

belonging to a particular group, the subsequent prediction

from group membership to their performance on a variety of

developmental tasks has little meaning.

In response to a critique by Masters and Wellman (1974)

suggesting that individual attachment behaviors had not been

found to be stable across time, Ainsworth et al. (1978)

assessed the reliability of the strange situation using a two

week test-retest procedure. They predicted that infants would

remember the first separation experience, and that distressed

infants would demonstrate more distress in the second session,

while undisturbed infants would appear even more comfortable

in the second assessment. In spite of these expected

behavioral changes from first to second assessment,

interactive behaviors were predicted to be significantly

correlated across sessions. Twenty-three white, middle-class

infants were involved in this test-retest study, conducted

when they were 50 and 52 weeks of age.

Overall, attachment behaviors increased significantly in

21 of 23 infants from the first to second session, including

proximity-seeking, contact-maintaining, search for mother, and

crying. Avoidance behaviors decreased in the second session

while resistance remained the same across time. In

interactions with the mother, proximity-seeking, contact-

maintaining, crying, searching, and resisting the stranger

were positively correlated across the two sessions, while

avoidance behaviors were not. As expected, frequency measures

of discrete behaviors such as smiling, vocalizing, and

touching did not demonstrate significant stability. The

overall stability of the ABC classification was 57% (kappa =

0.054), with the major changes accounted for by the switch of

all infants classified as Group A in the first session to

Group B in the second session. More specifically, ten of the

23 infants tested changed attachment groups upon retesting.

As Connell and Goldsmith (1982) have noted, the percentage of

correct reclassification expected by chance is 54%, which the

test-retest results only marginally exceeded. Ainsworth et al.

maintained that the differences in classification reflected

the oversensitivity of the system to short-term changes in the

infants' behavioral patterns (induced by the stress of

retesting), rather than reflecting inconsistencies in or

instability of individual differences in the organization of

attachment relationships. This explanation has apparently

been accepted by succeeding researchers, who have concentrated

later efforts on investigating the stability of the system

over longer intervals.

Only two other studies have repeated the strange

situation over a similarly short time interval. These results

will be briefly summarized, although both studies investigated

attachment towards mothers versus fathers, and neither

followed the Ainsworth scoring system faithfully. Willemsen,

Flaherty, Heaton, and Ritchey (1974) contrasted attachment

behaviors in one-year-old infants to mothers versus fathers.

These authors found more attachment behavior was directed to

the parent in the presence of the stranger in session 2, as

well as more distress (particularly crying) being exhibited.

As in the Ainsworth et al. test-retest study, these results

were attributed to the association of the experimental room

with the stress of separation. Lamb (1978) also investigated

patterns of attachment to mothers versus fathers during

testing sessions scheduled one week apart. Results

demonstrated no order effects; i.e., there was not a tendency

for any classification or behavior to be more or less common

in either session.

Connell (1978) tested 55 white, middle-class infants

using the strange situation at 12 and 18 months. He found

significant correlations in measures of contact-maintaining,

proximity- seeking, resistance, and avoidance across the two

sessions. Behavior towards the stranger was less consistent,

with significant correlations emerging in resistance,

avoidance, and proximity seeking. Approximately 81% of the

infants were classified in the same ABC group six months later

(kappa = 0.603), although Connell used techniques which

resulted in the elimination of eight subjects in subgroups B1

and B4 from the analyses.

In order to evaluate the construct validity of the

attachment concept, Waters (1978) examined the stability of

individual attachment behaviors, ratings of behavior

categories, and overall group classification in a middle-class

sample. Fifty infants were assessed at ages 12 and 18 months,

utilizing the Ainsworth strange situation paradigm. Time

samples of discrete behaviors and crying were recorded, as

well as behavioral ratings of five "attachment behavior

categories" (i.e., proximity-seeking, contact-maintaining,

proximity and interaction avoiding, contact resisting, and

distance interaction). Infants were also assigned to overall

categories (A, B, or C) as well as subgroups, based on their

strange situation performance. Behaviors were analyzed

separately for preseparation, separation, and reunion

episodes. Waters found that only four of 21 correlations

between discrete behavior scores at 12 and 18 months reached

the level of significance, and suggested that their occurrence

in the strange situation was frequently too low to allow for

adequate reliability. However, when ratings of interactive

behavior categories were considered, 13 of 18 correlations

were significant, including all of the behaviors directed at

the mothers in the reunion episodes. In terms of attachment

classification, 96% of the children maintained the same

attachment pattern over the six month period (kappa = 0.926),

while 30 of 50 subjects were also classified in the same

subgroups at both times. Waters interpreted this consistency

as support for the stability of attachment, conceptualized as

patterns of interactive behavior affected by variations in


Vaughn, Egeland, Sroufe, and Waters (1979) investigated

the stability of attachment in a lower-class, urban sample (N

= 100) in order to assess the impact of stress and changing

life circumstances on the mother-infant relationship. As in

the previous study, infants were observed in the strange

situation at 12 and 18 months. In addition, mothers completed

a stressful life-events inventory to document events occurring

between the 12 to 18 month period. Although stability of

classification at the two assessments did reach the level of

significance (kappa = 0.321), considerably more children

changed groups than in the Waters (1978) study (38%, as

compared with 4%). In the evaluation of the relationship

between attachment and life events, avoidant and resistant

infants were grouped together and compared with securely

attached infants. Mothers of securely attached infants at 18

months reported fewer stressful life events than did mothers

of anxious infants. Furthermore, changes from secure to

anxious attachment were associated with higher stressful-

events scores when compared with subjects who maintained their

secure classification over the six month period. Changes in

the opposite direction (from anxious to secure attachment)

were not related to stressful events scores. Vaughn et al.

suggested that these data confirmed that stressful life

circumstances may have seriously disrupted the mother-child

relationship, although stable conditions did not appear to be

sufficient for improvements in interaction.

In a larger sample (N = 189) of low-income mother-infant

dyads which included the 100 subjects reported above, Egeland

and Farber (1984) found that 60% of the sample retained the

same attachment classification from 12 to 18 months (kappa =

0.299). In this study, as contrasted with the smaller sample,

virtually no relationship was found between stressful life

events and quality of attachment. The only significant

finding suggested that mothers of girls rated as resistant at

12 months reported higher life stress scores. In addition,

mothers of infants who changed from B to C reported increased

life stress as compared with mothers of stable B babies.

As part of a study investigating differences between

attachment to mothers versus fathers, Main and Weston (1981)

assessed changes in attachment classification at 12 and 20

months. These infants were from predominantly middle-class

homes and were selected for absence of birth complications,

no major separations from the parent within two months of the

assessments (two weeks or more), and 25 hours or less per week

of out-of-home daycare experiences. Fifteen infants were seen

with their mothers at both points, with the remainder seen

with fathers. The authors found that 80% of this sample was

classified into a similar category at both times (kappa =

0.69), although a fourth category called "unclassifiable" was

also utilized. (The unclassifiable category consisted of

infants who demonstrated conflicted or inconsistent behavioral

patterns which did not fit readily into one of the other

groups.) This stability was statistically significant, as was

stability of all interactive behavior scores, with the

exception of contact resistance in the mother sample. Only

proximity avoidance with fathers was significantly stable.

Thompson, Lamb, and Estes (1982) addressed the stability

of attachment patterns in an unselected middle-class sample,

maintaining that Waters' (1978) subjects had been selected for

minimal family stress and change. Forty-three infants were

observed in the strange situation at ages 12.5 and 19.5

months, and their mothers completed questionnaires regarding

changes in caregiving and family stability over the

experimental period. Fifty-three percent of the subjects

maintained their original classification status at the second

assessment (kappa = 0.033), and 26% of the children were also

classified into the same subgroup. Insecurely attached

infants at 12.5 months tended to change groups more often than

did securely attached infants. Changes in status were

significantly related to mothers returning to work and the

experience of caregiving by someone other than the mother.

However, changes in classification were bidirectional; i.e.,

infants experiencing these changes were equally likely to

shift from secure to insecure, as from insecure to secure.

Life events other than caregiving circumstances were not

related to attachment, suggesting that the critical variables

were those most likely to affect the ongoing quality (or

quantity) of the mother-infant relationship.

Waters (1983) has taken issue with the interpretation

offered by Thompson et al. for the considerable attachment

instability found in their middle-class sample. Maintaining

that the other studies (reviewed above) demonstrated that

attachment stability is a well-replicated finding, he

questioned the validity of these results, as the Thompson et

al. percentage of similar classification (53%) was only

slightly higher than that expected by chance, and was

considerably lower than the rate found by Vaughn et al. in a

disadvantaged sample (62%). Waters denied that his sample had

been specifically selected to reduce the effects of stressful

life circumstances, and therefore results so dissimilar from

the Thompson et al. sample would not have been predicted. He

suggested that the small sample size of the second study and

possible differences in scoring techniques may have resulted

in these disparate findings.

In answer to Waters, Thompson, Lamb, and Estes (1983)

have questioned whether attachment stability can be assumed

from the data presented to date. These authors dismissed the

results of the Connell (1976) and Main and Weston (1981)

studies on the basis of incomparable scoring and

classification techniques. They related their results to

differences in the types of stressful events experienced by

the families studied, rather than the frequency of events, as

assessed by Vaughn et al. Changes in patterns of caregiving

and the work status of the primary attachment figure would be

hypothesized to have impact on quality of attachment, as found

in the middle-class sample. Thompson et al. suggested that

middle-class families might have better resources to cope with

such stressors in a positive way, than would disadvantaged


Owen, Easterbrooks, Chase-Lansdale, and Goldberg (1984)

studied quality of attachment at 12 and 20 months to both

mothers and fathers in relation to the mothers' employment

status. Seventy-eight percent of the children showed no

change in attachment classification with mothers (kappa =

0.174), while 62 % of the attachments remained similar with

fathers. Attachment classification was shown to be more

stable in children whose mothers returned to work during their

second year of life, as compared with mothers who maintained

full-time, part-time, or nonemployment over the 20 month

period. The authors suggested that concerns over the effects

of the change in employment status may have motivated the

mothers to maintain continuity in their relationships with

their infants. In addition, the authors cautioned that the

subjects were drawn from a highly educated, middle-class,

white sample, which limits its generalizability. Finally, the

incongruence of these results with those of Thompson et al.,

may relate to the timing of return to work and assessment of

attachment. In other words, a disruption in the relationship

may occur for a short period following change in employment,

which could inflate the overall estimate of attachment


To summarize, only one study to date has addressed test-

retest stability of the strange situation over a short

interval, using the same parent at both sessions (Ainsworth et

al., 1978). Although changes in patterns of behavior due to

the stress of a second assessment were predicted,

classification changes were largely accounted for by the

movement of avoidant infants to the secure category. The

relatively low percentage of infants who maintained similar

group membership suggests that the assessment paradigm may be

more sensitive than expected to temporally-contiguous

stressors involving separation, and less reflective of a

stable, enduring relationship quality. The two other studies

employing similar time intervals yielded contradictory

results: Lamb (1978) found no carryover from Session 1 to 2,

while Willemsen et al. (1974) found an increase in attachment

behaviors and distress from session 1 to 2.

Long-term (six month) test-retest research has produced

mixed results. The most striking feature of this research is

the wide variability in the estimates of stability which were

produced (kappa values ranged from 0.033 to 0.926). Two of

the studies reporting kappa values above 0.6 (Connell, 1976;

Main & Weston, 1981) used unstandardized variations of the

classification methods suggested by Ainsworth and her

colleagues. Vaughn et al. (1979) produced results reflecting

a lower proportion of stability, as predicted for a less

advantaged population. Their findings indicating that anxious

attachment and changes from secure to anxious attachment were

associated with high stress scores support this view.

Unfortunately, these findings were not replicated in their

larger study (Egeland & Farber, 1984), in which life stress

was not found to be consistently related to anxious attachment

or changes from secure to anxious attachment.

The Thompson et al. (1982) data also present

interpretative difficulties. Although their speculations

regarding the effects of caregiving circumstances on

attachment seem reasonable, the disparity between their sample

and the similar population studied by Waters is puzzling. As

Waters did not present data on the life circumstances of his

subjects, no firm conclusions can be drawn. Furthermore, Owen

et al. (1984) found a change in employment after the first

year to be related to more stable attachment, which is

inconsistent the Thompson et al. results. In general, these

data do not elucidate orderly conclusions about either the

stability of attachment classifications or their association

with life stress or changes in caregiving arrangements and

maternal work status.

Effects of Family Environmental Variables

Although debate continues regarding the role of

environmental variables in the formation of secure attachment,

several have received considerable attention. Research

investigating these factors, including maternal employment

status, infant temperament, social support, maternal

responsiveness, and life stress, will be addressed in this


Both Belsky and Steinberg (1978) and Ainsworth et al.

(1978) have reviewed the available literature focusing on the

relationship of attachment security and day care. Belsky and

Steinberg concluded that very little evidence exists to

suggest that day care results in deleterious effects on the

infant-mother bond. They cautioned, however, that the

majority of studies have investigated high-quality,

university-affiliated centers which may not be representative

of the modal American environment. Similarly, Ainsworth and

her colleagues concluded that the majority of studies

exploring the effects of working versus non-working mothers

produced negative results. These authors have suggested that

the critical variable may be the stability and continuity of

alternative caregiving arrangements, rather than the working

vs. non-working mother dichotomy.

Several studies have addressed this issue since the

publication of these reviews. Chase-Lansdale (1981) studied

single- and dual-wage-earner families, and found a similar

proportion of secure attachments in both groups. Sons of

working mothers did demonstrate fewer secure attachments to

their fathers, as well as fewer instances of secure attachment

to both parents. Owen, Easterbrooks, Chase-Lansdale, and

Goldberg (1983) also evaluated the relationship between

attachment to each parent and maternal employment. No

differences in the proportion of secure attachments were found

between groups of children whose mothers were employed full-

time, part-time, or not at all. Finally, Schwartz (1983)

studied attachment behavior at 18 months in children who

attended day care on a part-time or full-time basis, and those

who did not attend at all. She found that full-time day care

children demonstrated more avoidant behavior during the final

reunion episode of the strange situation than did children in

either of the other groups. Attachment classifications and

their relationship to this finding were not reported. To

summarize, the three previous studies, all of which utilized

middle-class samples, did not produce evidence of strong

support for the relationship between quality of attachment and

maternal employment.

In contrast, Vaughn, Gove, and Egeland (1980) found that

regular, daily separations occasioned by out-of-home care in

the first year of life were associated with anxious-avoidant

attachment. These authors hypothesized that physical

inaccessibility of the mother might mirror psychological

inaccessibility in its effects on quality of attachment;

i.e., out-of-home care might contribute to anxious attachment

patterns. Three groups of mother-infant pairs from a

disadvantaged population were selected to meet criteria of

out-of-home care initiated before 12 months of age (n = 34),

out-of-home care begun between 12 and 18 months (n = 18), and

a home-only care control group (n = 52). A variety of

maternal psychological variables, measures of mother-infant

interactions at three and six months, and infant behavioral

observations did not differentiate the three groups. From

assessments with the strange situation at 12 and 18 months,

there emerged a significant relationship between work status

and attachment security, with more anxiously-avoidant infants

appearing in the early return to work group. At 18 months,

security of attachment was related both to early initiation of

out-of-home care and family intactness (presence of a male

figure in the household predicted secure attachment). These

findings are in line with those of Schwartz (1983), in

suggesting that full-time maternal employment may result in

avoidant patterns of behavior.

Clearly the study conducted by Vaughn et al. (1980)

implicates social support as an important mediating variable

in the formation of secure attachment. Crockenberg (1981)

studied 48 mother-infant pairs to assess the influence of

infant irritability, mother responsiveness, and social support

on attachment. Babies were administered the NBAS at days five

and ten following birth and evaluated in the strange situation

at 12 months. Home visits at three months were conducted to

observe maternal responsiveness (measured by time to respond

to infant distress signals), as well as to assess sources of

stress and support for the mothers through interviews. The

measure of social support combined both an estimate of number

of support persons available to the mother, as well as her

experience of significant stressors over the first year of

her infant's life. Low social support was found to be

significantly related to anxious attachment, for babies who

were rated as highly irritable. Similarly, low responsiveness

was related to insecure attachment in the high irritable

infant group only.

In further analyses of these data, Crockenberg (1985)

found that maternal responsiveness at 12 months had a greater

effect on irritability in the strange situation than did the

behavior of the mothers at three months. She suggested that

mothers of irritable babies tended to grow less responsive

over the first year, particularly under conditions of low

social support.

In line with Crockenberg's findings on irritability and

attachment, Belsky, Rovine, and Taylor (1984) evaluated the

relationship of reciprocal interaction at one, three, and nine

months to attachment classification at one year. Securely

attached infants experienced moderate levels of stimulation

over their first year of life, while avoidant infants were

overstimulated and resistant infants were understimulated.

Both types of insecure infants were found to be more fussy at

three and nine months, suggesting that infant temperament may

play a role in the development of maladaptive caretaking

patterns. Similarly, Egeland and Farber (1984) found that in

a lower SES sample, infants classified as resistantly attached

at one year had been rated as less alert and responsive during

feeding and play during their first few months of life.

Waters, Vaughn, and Egeland (1980) administered the NBAS

to 100 first-born neonates at age seven and ten days, then

administered the strange situation at one year. Results

indicated that anxious/resistant (Group C) infants scored

lower on orientation, motor maturity, and regulation items at

day seven. These differences had disappeared by day ten. The

authors suggested that these results supported other evidence

linking the more difficult nature of group C children with

difficult interaction and the development of anxious


Finally, two studies investigated the relationship of

family stress, as measured by the Parenting Stress Index, and

patterns of attachment (Green, 1981; Hamilton, 1981). In

neither of these white, middle-class samples was a significant

relationship between these variables found.

To summarize, the majority of research done to date has

not found that maternal employment negatively affects security

of infant attachment. A major exception is the study by

Vaughn et al. (1980), which demonstrated that early out-of-

home care in a disadvantaged population resulted in a larger

proportion of anxiously attached children. Research

investigating long-term attachment stability (over a six month

period) has suggested that changes in attachment

classification may be associated with lower socioeconomic

status, high life stress, and changes in caregiving

circumstances. As a cautionary note, replication across

studies on these variables has been problematic, even within

research groups working with longitudinal studies. In

addition, some of the results have been directly contradictory

(e.g., Owen et al.'s (1984) finding that mothers who returned

to work in the second year had offspring with more stable

attachments, as contrasted with Thompson et al. (1982) who

found return to work to be associated with changes in


Aims and Hypotheses of the Study

The present study has two aims. First, given the rather

weak evidence available for the stability of the ABC typology

over both short and long time intervals, and the importance of

stability for the predictive validity of the classification

system, the study will address the issue of the contribution

of contextual effects to the stability of attachment over a

two week test-retest period. It is hypothesized that

controlling for context-specific stress will decrease the

occurrence of intensified attachment behavior in session two.

In other words, the stability of the ABC classification is

expected to be significantly higher than that reported by

Ainsworth et al. (1978) for infants seen in two different

contexts. In addition, interactive behavior categories are

expected to demonstrate significant stability across sessions,

in particular, for changed context subjects.

Family environmental variables have not been examined in

other research investigating short-term stability. Factors

which have been hypothesized to play a role in long term (six

to eight month) stability will be examined in relation to the

current sample. These variables will include maternal

employment, continuity of caregiving, and life stress.

Many of these same variables have been implicated in the

quality of mother-infant attachment which develops over the

first year. The second aim of this study is to investigate

the relationship of stressful life events, perceived social

support, infant temperament, maternal temperament, and

stability of caretaking arrangements to attachment


Given the research on environmental factors which has

been presented, it is predicted that changes in caretaking


circumstances will be negatively related to security of

attachment. Measures of social support and maternal

adaptiveness should show positive, though perhaps smaller

associations to secure attachment. The measure of maternal

temperament (including adaptiveness) will be utilized to

approximate the dimension of sensitive responsiveness. High

life stress scores may be related to anxious attachment,

although support for this hypothesis has been less clear.

Finally, irritable infant temperament is expected to be

related to anxious attachment.



Thirty mothers and their one-year old infants served as

subjects in this study, although one mother-infant pair

completed only the initial interview and first session. The

mean age for mothers was 28.3 years (range = 20 38). One

mother was separated from her husband; all other couples had

intact marriages. The average family income was approximately

$20,000 (range = $5200 $60,000). Subjects were recruited

through several sources. These included ads in the

university newspaper and a local advertising flyer, notices

posted on bulletin boards in the teaching hospital and in

local stores, word of mouth, and a list of mothers who had

participated in a previous research project (unrelated to the

current study). Mothers were paid ten dollars for their

participation. The initial testing of the infants was

conducted within three weeks of their first birthday, with the

retest scheduled for two weeks later. The mean age for

infants at first testing was 363.5 days (range = 344 390),

and at retest was 379.9 days (range = 359 404). Thirteen

boys and seventeen girls participated in the study. Fifty-

three percent of the subjects were first born children (eight

boys and eight girls).


Interview. A structured interview was utilized to assess

demographic variables and the stability of caretaking

arrangements (see Appendix B). This interview was modeled

after one done by Thompson (personal communication, November,

1983) and included questions concerning the number of

babysitters and day care centers utilized, number of changes

in these arrangements, and number of planned events (e.g.,

social engagements, days of employment) which were disrupted

due to problems with caretaking provisions.

Social Support Questionnaire. Social support for the

mothers was assessed using the Social Support Questionnaire

(Sarason, Levine, Basham, & Sarason, 1983). This instrument

was composed of 27 hypothetical situations for which the

subject was asked to list potential support people and rate

satisfaction with that level of support. The questionnaire

yielded both a measure of total number of social supports (N)

and perceived satisfaction with support (S). A test-retest

study conducted over a four week period found correlations of

0.90 for N and 0.83 for S (Sarason et al., 1983).

Life Experiences Survey. Maternal life stress was

measured with a modified version of the Life Experiences

Survey (Sarason, Johnson, & Siegel, 1978), which produced an

estimate of the number of negative and positive life events

occurring over the previous year. This instrument was

selected because of the wide variety of events it lists,

including those concerning employment stressors. Subjects

simply identified events which had occurred in their lives

over the past year, rating them as either negative or

positive. Pearson product-moment correlations computed over a

five to six week test-retest period were found to range from

0.19 to 0.53 for positive life change and from 0.56 to 0.88

for negative life change (Sarason et al., 1978).

Infant Behavior Questionnaire. The Infant Behavior

Questionnaire, designed to measure infant temperament, yielded

six dimensions of temperament including activity level,

distress to approach novel stimuli (or fear), distress to

limitations, duration of orienting, soothability, and smiling

and laughter (Rothbart, 1981). The instrument required

frequency judgements on approximately 90 behavioral items

which might have occurred over the previous one to two weeks.

Stability coefficients over the three to 12 month age bracket

ranged from 0.06 to 0.80, with greater stability reported

above six months (Rothbart, 1981).

Dimensions of Temperament Survey. Maternal temperament

was measured with the Dimensions of Temperament Survey

(Lerner, Palermo, Spiro, & Nesselroade, 1982). This

instrument consisted of 34 behavioral items which subjects

marked as either true (accurate self-descriptions) or false

(inaccurate). The five temperamental factors identified by

this instrument were activity level, attention

span/distractibility, adaptability, rhythmicity, and

reactivity. Three day test-retest stability ranged from 0.60

to 0.93 (Lerner et al., 1982).

The Strange Situation. As described in the introduction,

the strange situation consisted of eight short episodes, in

which the infant's response to separation, reunion, and

overtures by a stranger were noted. The episodes were

designed to gradually increase the stress to which the infant

was exposed, with concomitant increases in attachment

behaviors expected. Strange situation assessments occurred in

two different experimental rooms, one located in Shands

Teaching Hospital and the other in the Department of Clinical

Psychology research trailer. These facilities were located

several miles apart and in very different settings, chosen to

minimize the children's recognition of the assessment

situation. The trailer was located on a quiet drive in a

woodsy setting, isolated from the rest of the university. In

contrast, the room at Shands Teaching Hospital was located

within a large medical center at a busy intersection of the


Each of the experimental rooms contained two chairs and a

number of toys appropriate for one-year-old infants. Toys at

the trailer included toy phone, foil pie plates, plastic

hammer, milk bottle with shapes, baby doll, musical apple,

felt chicken, plastic shapes, plastic toy rabbit, and toy keys

on a ring. Toys at the hospital consisted of large colored

ball, plastic bucket and shovel, colored plastic blocks, toy

camera music box, chicken rattle, cloth pig, plastic pull

train, cloth doll with rattle, bird squeeze toy, fish rattle,

and soft rubber elephant. The experimental room at the

hospital measured 10 by 12 feet, was carpeted, and contained a

couch and two small end tables in addition to the equipment

described above. The room at the trailer was smaller,

measuring 8 by 6, uncarpeted, and furnished only with a file



Prior to the first assessment, the subjects were

interviewed by the principal investigator, either in their

homes or at the psychology clinic at Shands Teaching Hospital.

The procedures of the study were explained and informed

consent was obtained (Appendix A). Next, the structured

interview was conducted and mothers were instructed in the

procedures of the four inventories. Finally, the mothers' role

in the strange situation was outlined and each was given a

descriptive handout.

All subjects were tested in two sessions of the Ainsworth

Strange Situation, scheduled at two week intervals. Although

scheduling all children for assessments at the same time of

day proved impossible, an attempt was made to maintain

consistency in time of assessment between the two sessions of

each subject. For half of the subjects, the testing sessions

occurred in two different experimental rooms (at the research

trailer and Shands Teaching Hospital). The remaining subjects

were tested twice in the Clinical Psychology research trailer.

For subjects tested in two different settings, the order of

the experimental rooms was counterbalanced. When the subjects

arrived at the prescribed setting, the procedures of the study

were reviewed with them by the principal investigator or a

research assistant, and the mothers were given a cue sheet to

take into the room with them (Appendix C). Following each

session of the strange situation, mothers were asked (1) if

they were surprised by any aspect of their child's behavior,

and (2) whether anything unusual had occurred on the day of

testing which might have influenced the assessment.

Three different female strangers were utilized; the order

of their appearance was varied randomly. The strangers were

recruited from an undergraduate psychology class and they

received course credit for their participation in the study.

They engaged in four training sessions prior to beginning the

experiment. Although these students were familiar with

attachment theory in general, they were unaware of the

specific hypotheses of the study and were blind to the

behavior of each baby in any prior session. (Both the

experimental settings and stranger behavior were reviewed and

approved by Dr. Ross Thompson from the University of Nebraska

following the initial training sessions.)

The infants' behavior in the strange situation was

videotaped from behind one-way mirrors. Measures which were

scored from these records included classification into

groups and subgroups and ratings of proximity and contact-

seeking, contact-maintaining, avoidance, and resistance during

the two reunion episodes. These four interactive behaviors

have been identified previously as most salient and reliable

in differentiating patterns of attachment (Waters, personal

communication, April, 1985). Descriptive ratings were

provided by Ainsworth et al. (1978), with seven points on each

scale anchored to specific patterns of response.

Two raters (RAI and CRI) were trained by Dr. Everett

Waters in the scoring of the strange situation. Rater CRI was

blind to the experimental hypotheses of the study. Training

was undertaken using videotapes from an unrelated study. The

two raters each scored half of the session one and half of the

session two tapes, and were blind to the behavior and

classification of the infants in their other session. The

raters then scored the other half of the videotapes. Tapes

were rerated in groups of four if there was any disagreement

on group or subgroup classification, or if ratings of

interactive behaviors differed by more than two points.

Independent reliability was achieved with Dr. Mary Jo Ward who

scored a random sample of the tapes (N = 15). She was blind

to the hypotheses of the study, as well as to the behavior of

any infant in a previous session. Dr. Ward had been trained

by Dr. Alan Sroufe (Institute of Child Development,

Minneapolis, Minnesota) and had demonstrated consistent

reliability with his ratings.



Two independent raters each scored 82% of the videotapes.

Ninety-eight percent agreement was achieved for ABC

classification (Kappa = 0.93). Eighty percent agreement was

reached on subgroup classification. Intraclass correlation

coefficients (Bartko, 1966) were calculated for the

interactive ratings. The values for proximity-seeking,

contact-maintaining, resistance, and avoidance were 0.93,

0.97, 0.86, and 0.90, respectively.

Reliability was also calculated between the final

consensus values used in the analyses and the ratings on a

random sample scored by Dr. Ward. Mean values for these

ratings were 0.80, 0.91, 0.92, and 0.60, respectively.


The group of infants tested twice in the same setting were

seen both times in the trailer, with no infants seen twice in

the hospital. Therefore, initial analyses were conducted to

ascertain that the effect of a particular setting did not

cloud the analyses of stability. First, a comparison of the

trailer/trailer group (TT, N = 15) and the trailer/hospital

group (TH, N = 8) was made for the distribution of the three

classifications at test and retest. Using chi-square tests,

there were no significant differences. Because the expected

cell frequencies were lower than optimal for the chi-square

statistic, comparisons were also made with Fisher's exact

test. For this comparison, the distribution of A and C

infants considered as one group was compared with group B,

with no significant differences found between the treatment

groups. The same two groups (TT/TH) were examined for

differences in number of infants who retained the same

classification over the two sessions. Again, a chi-square

test revealed no significant differences.

As a further check for setting differences, all infants

seen in the trailer at session one (n = 23) were compared to

those seen in the hospital (n = 6). There were no differences

between groups using the Fisher's exact test to examine

distribution of infants into A plus C versus B categories. T-

tests also demonstrated no differences in interactive ratings

during session one between these groups.

Next, the group of infants tested in the order

trailer/hospital (TH) was compared with that tested first in

the hospital, followed by the trailer (HT, N = 6). Chi-square

analyses revealed no differences between these groups in the

distribution of classifications either at the first or second

session. In addition, Fisher's exact tests demonstrated no

differences at test or retest in distribution of subjects into

A plus C versus B categories. Likewise, there were no

differences between these groups in the number of infants who

retained their classification across sessions.

In addition to examining the effects of setting on overall

group membership, the four interactive variables were

scrutinized. With one exception, no differences were noted on

t-tests comparing groups TT and TH in terms of proximity-

seeking, contact-maintaining, resistance, or avoidance in

either reunion episode, during both test and retest.

Avoidance in episode 5 of the retest was significantly higher

for infants in the TT group than the TH group (t = 2.131; p <

0.0489). Given the relatively large number of statistical

tests employed, as well as the lack of support for this

finding in other measures (and theoretically), it seems likely

that this is not a meaningful finding. Difference scores on

each interactive variable calculated across sessions (e.g.,

Davoid5 = Avoidance Episode 5, test Avoidance Episode 5,

retest) were also examined using t-tests. There were no

significant differences.

As with the overall group classification, comparisons

between the TH and HT groups were next made. There were no

differences between these two groups on measures of any of the

four interactive variables in each reunion in both test and

retest sessions. Several significant findings were noted in

difference scores. Babies in the TH group tended to increase

proximity-seeking in episodes 5 and 8 over the two sessions,

as compared with decreases in the HT group (t = -2.8820, p <

0.0138, and t = -2.3039, p < 0.0399, respectively). In

addition, avoidance in episode 8 tended to decrease across

sessions in the TH group, as compared with increases in the HT

group (t = 2.3569, p < 0.0363). All other difference score

comparisons were nonsignificant.

In light of the general lack of support for setting

effects, analyses were conducted to compare trailer/trailer

subjects with all changed context subjects (TH and HT). The

distribution of infants for the two groups at test and retest

is described in Table 1. First, the likelihood that a

particular classification was more frequent in one of the

groups at either test or retest was examined. Chi-square

tests were nonsignificant. Fisher's exact tests applied to

the A plus C versus B distribution at both sessions were also

nonsignificant. Similarly, chi-square tests demonstrated no

tendency for retaining classification to be more likely in one

group as compared with the other. As in the previous section,

t-tests were used to compare individual interactive ratings in

both episodes in each session. There were no differences. In

addition, no differences were found on comparisons of any of

the interactive rating difference scores.

As a final test of differences in stability between the

two groups, kappa was computed for each. The values were

-0.1409 and -0.1572, for TT and TH/HT, respectively. As

suggested by Cohen (1960), a two way comparison was made by

evaluating the normal curve deviate, with no significant

differences emerging (z = 0.03, p > 0.05).

As no significant differences in stability between TT and

TH/HT groups were found, all subjects were combined for the

following analyses. First, of the total sample in the first

session, 25 infants (83%) were classified as securely

attached, while three infants were rated as avoidant (10%),


Classification of Infants at Test and Retest
in Same Context/Changed Context Groups

Trailer/Trailer Group



0 1 0 1

1 10 2 13

0 1 0 1

1 12 2 15
(0.07) (0.80) (0.13)



0 1

2 10

0 1

2 12
(0.14) (0.E

and Trailer/Hospital Group




86) (0.0)





Test A



Test A



and two were rated resistant (7%). Although this distribution

is weighted more heavily with secure infants than often found

in the literature, it is comparable to some studies using

middle class samples (e.g., Owen et al., 1984).

The overall stability was 69% (kappa = -0.116). Table 2

describes the distribution of infants at test and retest in

the current study, as compared with Ainsworth et al.'s (1978)

sample. There was no clear trend in direction of change.

Five children changed from secure to anxious attachment (three

B/A and two B/C) and four switched from anxious to secure (two

A/B and two C/B). Twenty-eight percent of the infants

retained the same subgroup classification from the first to

second session. (See Table 3.) Intraclass correlation

coefficients for proximity-seeking, contact-maintaining,

resistance and avoidance were 0.41, 0.56, 0.12, and 0.14,

respectively, for episode 5, and 0.42, 0.57, 0.28, and 0.14,

for episode 8.

Attachment behaviors (proximity-seeking and contact-

maintaining) tended to increase across sessions in episode

five (Dprox5 = -0.7241; Dcont5 = -0.8448) and decrease in

episode eight (Dprox8 = 0.7241; Dcont8 = 0.4828). Avoidance

tended to decrease across sessions in episode five (Davoid5 =

0.5517) and increase in episode eight (Davoid8 = -0.4138).

Means and standard deviations for the interactive ratings are

presented in Table 4. As illustrated, in session one,

proximity-seeking, contact-maintaining, and resistance

increased significantly from episode five to eight, while


Classification of Infants at Test and Retest
for the Current Study and Ainsworth's Sample

Current Study



Test A 0 2 0 2

B 3 20 2 25

C 0 2 0 2

3 24 2 29
(0.10) (0.83) (0.07)

Ainsworth Sample



Test A 0 7 0 7

B 0 12 2 14

C 0 1 1 2

0 20 3 23

(0.00) (0.87)



Subgroup Classification at Test and Retest


Al A2 B1 B2 B3 B4 C1 C2

Test Al 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 2

A2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

B1 0 0 1 3 0 0 0 0 4

B2 2 0 2 2 1 0 0 1 8

B3 1 0 1 0 5 5 1 0 13

B4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Cl 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1

C2 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1

3 0 5 6 7 6 1 1 29
(.10) (.17)(.21)(.24)(.21) (.03)(.03)

avoidance decreased. In contrast, the only significant change

across episodes in the retest was an increase in contact-

maintaining from five to eight. Combined means for episodes

five and eight for each session, as well as correlations

between these means, can be found in Table 5. Differences

between the means of the two sessions were nonsignificant for

all interactive ratings.

Further paired comparison t-tests were computed for

subjects sorted into two groups according to whether they

changed (n = 9) or retained (n = 20) their classifications

across sessions. Infants who changed classifications showed

increases from episode five to eight (in session one) in

proximity-seeking, contact-maintaining and resistance (p <

0.0327, 0.0112, and 0.0099, respectively). During the retest,

only a decrease in proximity-seeking from episode five to

eight was significant (p < 0.0404). For those infants who

retained their classification, proximity-seeking and contact-

maintaining increased across the episodes in the first session

(p < 0.0024 and p < 0.0009), while avoidance decreased (p <

0.0116). During the second session, the only significant

difference across episodes was an increase in contact-

maintaining (p < 0.0218).

Given the pattern of instability across sessions, the

association between short-term stability of infant-mother

attachment and family environmental and demographic variables

was assessed. For these analyses, subjects were sorted into

those who retained their classification over the two sessions

(N = 20) versus those infants who changed groups from test to

retest (N = 9). Using t-tests, no significant differences

were found between the groups on the following variables:

social support, life stress, maternal temperament, infant

temperament, caretaking changes, parental age and hours

worked, and separations from mother over the first year of

life. In contrast, infants who retained their classification

were found to come from lower income families (M = $17704)

than those who changed groups (M = $27700; t = 2.1503, p <

0.0403). This difference is contradictory to findings in the

literature suggesting a higher rate of stability in higher

income families, and is likely to be a spurious finding

resulting from the large number of statistical tests employed.

A series of chi-square tests evaluated the association

between stability of classification and categorical variables.

No differences were found based on sex of subject, birth

order, level of parental education, maternal work status, or

changes in caretakers over the first year.

To summarize the previous section, actual setting in which

the strange situation occurred had no effect on classification

in a particular setting or on stability of classification. In

addition, there were no differences in the stability of

classification in the same context group (TT) as compared with

the changed context group. Stability for the sample

considered as a whole was unimpressive (k = -0.166). Finally,

when infants who retained their group status were compared

with those who changed across sessions, no significant


Means and Standard Deviations for Interactive Ratings


Episode 5


Episode 8


SD Mean SD

2.93 1.98 4.45 1.49








3.66 1.93

3.43 2.40

1.38 0.92

1.90 1.45








3.72 1.92 0.7636

3.95 2.32 0.0122

1.59 1.17 0.3392

1.97 1.38 0.7869










Comparison of Means of Strange Situation Measures
for Sessions One and Two and Correlations Between Sessions

Measure Session 1 Session 2 Significance r
Mean Mean of Difference

Seeking 3.69 3.69 n.s. 0.54

Maintaining 3.48 3.69 n.s. 0.65

Resistance 1.67 1.48 n.s. 0.23

Avoidance 2.03 1.93 n.s. 0.39

differences emerged on demographic or family environmental

variables. One exception to this was family income. Due to

the small sample size, the group of infants which changed

classification could not be sorted according to direction of

change (e.g., secure to anxious versus anxious to secure).

Family Environmental Variables

The second aim of this study was to investigate the

relationship of a variety of family environmental variables

to quality of attachment. For these analyses, only the

classifications from the first session were utilized. The

group of securely attached infants (N = 25) was compared with

those children who were anxiously attached (N = 5), which

included both avoidant (n = 3) and resistant (n = 2) infants.

T-tests were used to compare these groups on measures of

social support, life stress, maternal temperament, infant

temperament, hours that mother and father spent caring for the

baby, caretaking changes, and income. There were no

significant differences except for the maternal temperament

factor of activity. On this variable, mothers of securely

attached infants tended to score lower than did mothers of

anxiously attached infants (t = -2.7282; p < 0.0109). A chi-

square test evaluating the relationship between attachment and

maternal work status also proved to be nonsignificant.


The present study investigated the hypothesis that the

stability of attachment classification would be increased if

an infant's recognition of the assessment context was

eliminated. In order to evaluate this assumption, half of the

subjects were tested in two very different settings, presented

in counterbalanced order, with the remainder seen twice in the

same context. Results demonstrated that context effects had

no bearing on classification stability. The coefficients of

agreement (kappa) for the two groups (same context and changed

context) were similarly unimpressive, and nonsignificantly

different. This finding was supported by the lack of

differences between the groups in interactive ratings and

changes in those ratings across time. Although the relatively

small sample size and the large proportion of securely

attached infants found in the study preclude taking a

definitive stand on the meaning of these findings, it should

be noted that none of the statistical comparisons were even

close to significantly different. The lack of differences

between these groups suggests that if memory for the strange

situation is affecting classification stability, it is likely

to be recognition of the entire sequence of events rather than

of the physical environment alone that affects the children's

behavior in the second assessment.

As the recognition of context hypothesis received no

support, subjects were collapsed into one group in order to

examine stability in the sample as a whole. In this study,

there was a higher percentage of infants who retained their

classification across sessions as compared with the Ainsworth

et al. (1978) sample (69% and 57%, respectively). However, a

comparison of the kappa values computed for these two samples

revealed that when the amount of agreement expected by chance

was considered, stability in the current study was even lower

than in Ainsworth's results.

Temporal instability would not necessarily undermine the

validity of the classification system, if changes in the

quality of attachment were either the predictable result of

anxiety engendered in the first session spilling over into the

second, or if the changes could be related predictably to

environmental changes. Ainsworth and her colleagues were able

to develop reasonable explanations for their findings, based

on the pattern of changes they observed. First, the bulk of

changes in classification were accounted for by avoidant

infants appearing secure in the second session. In addition,

proximity-seeking and contact-maintaining were significantly

higher in session 2, while avoidance decreased from time one

to time two. The authors stated: "it is clear that the

effect of the repetition of the strange situation after a

brief two-week interval was to increase distress and the

intensity of attachment behavior, while at the same time the

negative behaviors of avoidance and resistance decreased or

remained at about the same level of intensity" (Ainsworth et

al., 1978, p.222).

The present study does not support these conclusions. Of

the nine infants who changed classification, four moved from

anxiously to securely attached, and the remainder changed from

secure to anxious. Also in contrast to the Ainsworth study,

changes in interactive behaviors across sessions were not

consistently in the expected directions. In general, the

explanation posed by other researchers to explain short-term

instability lacks validity in relation to these results: the

hypothesis that the anxiety engendered by encountering a

second "strange situation" results in increased attachment

behaviors and a general progression to secure attachment is

not supported.

As Ainsworth and her colleagues suggested, it seems

unlikely that the quality of the mother-infant attachment

would change dramatically over a two week period, unless there

were gross changes in the factors which influence the mother-

infant interaction. Post-experimental questions administered

after each assessment in the current study provided anecdotal

evidence to the effect that infants who changed

classifications had not experienced any noteworthy disruptions

or trauma in the two week interim, relative to those infants

who remained in their original group. Mothers occasionally

reported illness in the child or an unrestful nap, but these

comments were equally distributed across groups and time of


In a further attempt to understand the pattern of

instability which emerged in the present study, family

environmental variables which have been implicated in long-

term stability were examined. It was not expected that gross

changes in the factors measured would have occurred between

sessions, and in fact, the questionnaires were completed prior

to both assessments. However, based on six to eight month

test-retest studies, it seemed that certain variables such as

infant difficulty, life stress, or caregiving continuity might

affect short-term stability. Clearly, there was no evidence

to support these hypothesized relationships.

To summarize, the current study did not support the

contention that short-term instability in the ABC

classification system was related to stress-inducing effects

of returning twice to the same assessment context.

Furthermore, instability in this sample as a whole was greater

than that found in the Ainsworth sample. As Lamb (1978) had

reported with a mother/father test-retest study, there was no

predictable pattern in the direction of changes which

occurred. Infants were as likely to change from secure to

anxious as they were from anxious to secure. Finally, none of

the personality or environmental variables which were

investigated differentiated between infants who changed versus

retained classification. As mentioned previously, due to the

small number of subjects, the changed classification group

could not be analyzed according to direction of change.

The conclusion which emerges from these results is that

classification of attachment quality over a two week period

lacks stability. In contrast to Ainsworth's findings, but in

line with Lamb's, this instability appeared random in

direction, rather than following a trend to normative or

secure attachment.

This study does have limitations which constrain

overgeneralization of results. The inclusion of a treatment

group comprised of infants seen twice in the hospital setting

would have eliminated the need for analyses of specific

setting effects. In addition, the relatively small sample

size and the securely weighted distribution of infants

presented difficulties for statistical analysis.

Overriding these concerns was the fact that none of the

statistical comparisons were even marginally significant.

Converging evidence from both classification status and

interactive ratings strongly supported the finding of lack of

stability. Further research to document these results should

include a larger sample, both to increase the power of

statistical evaluation and avoid the problems raised by the

ABC sample distribution. There is little reason to believe,

however, that the presence of more anxiously attached infants

in the first session would improve stability estimates.

Both the Ainsworth data and results of long-term studies

(e.g., Thompson et al., 1983) suggest that anxiously attached

children are less likely to retain their classification in a

retest than are secure infants. Finally, future research

might also investigate stability at an interval longer than

two weeks. As a cautionary note, however, as the time between

test and retest increases, the risk of- confounds from

developmental changes and alterations in environmental

circumstances increases as well.

Unfortunately, very little can be concluded regarding the

second aim of this study. In this case, the large percentage

of securely attached infants weighed against the probability

of identifying differences between groups on family

environmental variables.

Keeping in mind that the sample size and group

distribution limit firm conclusions, what might these results

mean for the ABC classification system? One speculation would

be that the ABC taxonomy is not the most parsimonious and

accurate model for describing differences in quality of

attachment. Conceivably, differences within each group are

larger than stylistic differences between groups. More

specifically, infants in different subgroups may have very

different styles of responding to increases in anxiety, which

influence patterns of temporal stability. Although Ainsworth

et al. did not report subgroup membership, their most notable

finding was the movement of seven infants from avoidantly to

securely attached. In the present study, only two infants

were classified as avoidant in the first session, and both

moved to a secure classification (B1 or B2)'at time two. In

terms of the B subgroups, several tentative directional trends

can be identified. B3 infants tended either to remain in that

group or move to B4. B2 infants tended to remain stable or

change to a B1 or Al classification. B1 infants tended to

look like B2's in their second session.

Lamb, Thompson, Gardner, Charnov, and Estes (1984) have

suggested that cluster analysis does not provide strong

support for the ABC classification system. In applying

cluster analysis to five samples which varied in age tested

and cultural background, Gardner, Lamb, and Thompson

(1985) found that boundaries between groups generally

did not fall along the A/B and B/C distinctions. They

reported the C group to appear extremely heterogeneous and

that differences between some B subgroups were often greater

than differences between A and B subgroups. More

specifically, "distal" B's (BI and B2) frequently clustered

with A infants, while proximall" B's (B3 and B4) were often

grouped with C's. In addition, the fit of the ABC

classification and the empirically derived clusters were found

to vary according to the age and cultural background of the

sample, with the closest fit shown in an American, one-year-

old population. The authors conclude by recommending the

consideration of continuous measures comprised of (1) a

composite summing proximity-seeking and contact-maintaining

and subtracting avoidance, and (2) the resistance scale.

The general trend of the movement between subgroups in the

present study is largely consistent with Gardner et al.'s

findings using cluster analysis. In other words, a change in

classification from B1 or B2 to group A (or vice versa) may

actually be reflective of behavioral similarity and continuity

among those groups, rather than suggesting temporal

instability of individual differences, as the current

classification system would dictate.

An examination of the overall pattern of interactive

rating change in the present study demonstrated that there

were significant changes in all four ratings from episode five

to eight in the first session. Two weeks later, only contact-

maintaining showed a significant increase. By sorting the

infants according to stability of classification, an attempt

was made to evaluate whether certain infants had habituated to

the stress of the strange situation, while others had not.

The two groups showed reasonably similar patterns of change in

proximity-seeking and contact-maintaining in session one,

though differing on the other two variables. Differences in

the pattern of change across episodes continued in the retest.

In a larger sample which would allow investigation of

direction of classification change, analyses along these lines

might clarify which types of infants show predictable

behavioral reactions to the stress of separation.

The final section of this paper focuses on practical and

sociological observations of the ABC classification system.

As reviewed in the introduction, the strange situation and its

ensuing ABC taxonomy are plagued with a number of

problems. Questions of both short-term and long-term

stability remain unanswered. Results of the present study

illustrate the questions surrounding short-term temporal

stability. Efforts which have been directed to understanding

six to ten month stability have produced inconsistent results.

First, there has been wide variability reported across

studies. Second, the differences found by various researchers

are not clearly explicable on the basis of sample

characteristics (e.g., note the wide discrepancies in

estimates of stability found in similar middle-class samples).

Finally, attempts to link stability/instability to external

variables have not been definitive: while Vaughn et al.

(1980) found changes from secure to anxious attachment to be

associated with life stress, Egeland and Farber (1984) were

unable to replicate this in a larger sample. Likewise,

Thompson et al. (1982) reported bidirectional changes in

attachment status to be related to changes in mothers'

employment status and caregiving disruption, while Owen et al.

(1984) found increased stability in infants whose mothers

returned to work during the second year.

In spite of problems such as those cited above, the

strange situation is a highly popular and visible metholology.

A brief review of the abstracts from the Society for Research

in Child Development catalog (biennial meeting, 1985)

demonstrates that of the 32 articles discussing attachment, 31

or 97% utilized this methodology. The only author who did not

use the ABC taxonomy was Everett Waters, who is in the process

of developing a Q-sort instrument for assessing attachment.

A cursory look at the major figures producing attachment

research reveals that they fall roughly into those associated

with Ainsworth through training or collaboration (e.g.,

Sroufe, Waters, Vaughn, Main, Egeland) and those not (e.g.,

Lamb, Thompson, Belsky, Crockenberg). The authors who have

been most critical of the methodology while continuing to be

extremely involved in the area are Michael Lamb and his

students. In general, critiques of the taxonomy tend to be

ignored or to generate considerable heat (e.g., Thompson et

al., 1982; Waters, 1983; Thompson et al., 1983). It seems

noteworthy that the major review paper produced by Lamb et al.

(1984) which has a format specifically designed for peer

commentary, stimulated no response from any of the Ainsworth

related group.

Frequently, the focus of the controversy over this

methodology comes to rest on the scoring system for the

strange situation videotapes. In several discussion sections,

results which contradict the ABC model were deemphasized or

dismissed on the basis of inadequate scoring (e.g., Waters,

1983; Ainsworth et al., 1978). Practically speaking, learning

the scoring system is a cumbersome, time-consuming, and

expensive task for researchers who are not collaborating with

a major figure. Clearly, working only from the written

material provided in the Ainsworth et al. book is inadequate

for establishing reliability. Waters (1978) made reference to

a set of standardized videotapes which would be available for

training and reliability. In fact, these were never

developed, presumably because of disagreements among the

prospective authors (Waters, personal communication, 1985).

Given how firmly entrenched the ABC system has become in the

attachment literature, the standardization of the methodology

is critical. Resolution of the controversy surrounding the


taxonomy rests on the provision of standardized materials

which would allow the assumption of uniform ratings across

research laboratories and theoretical camps.


Informed consent to Participate in Research

J. Hillis Miller Health Center
University of Florida
Gainesville, Florida 32610

You are being asked to volunteer as a participant in a

research study. This form is designed to provide you with

information about this study and to answer any of your


TITLE: Mother-infant attachment: Stability and relationship

to family environmental variables

PROJECT DIRECTOR: Roberta A. Isleib, M.S. 392-2944

PURPOSE: The purpose of the present study is to understand

the effects of variables such as stressful life events, social

support, mother and child temperament, and caretaking

arrangements on infant social behavior and the mother-child

relationship. The study will also investigate the stability

of the classification system which is currently used to

describe infant behavior.

PROCEDURES: Each participant will be briefly visited in their

home, where the study will be explained and questionnaires

concerning life stress, social support networks, temperament,

and caretaking arrangements will be completed. In addition,

each mother-infant pair will visit the laboratory two times,

at two weeks apart, in order to participate in a 20 minute

session in which the baby's reaction to the mother, a friendly

. I

stranger, and being briefly left alone will be filmed.

POTENTIAL RISKS OR DISCOMFORTS: The only potential risk to

subjects for participation in this study would be the

relatively mild distress experienced by some infants during

separation from their mothers for a three minute period.

Mothers will be allowed to watch their infants from behind a

mirror during this time and may terminate the study at any

point, if desired.


benefits to be gained by experimental subjects. The primary

benefits of the research involve increasing our understanding

of the factors involved in infant social behavior, and

indirectly, to improve the quality of preventative mental

health care in this important area.

GENERAL CONDITIONS: I understand that I will receive ten

dollars for my participation in this study. I understand that

I will not be charged additional expenses for my participation

in this study. I understand that I am free to withdraw my/my

child's consent and discontinue participation in this research

project at any time without this decision affecting my child's

medical care. In the event of my/my child's sustaining a

physical injury which is proximately caused by this

experiment, no professional medical care received at the J.

Hillis Miller Health Center exclusive of hospital expenses

will be provided me without charge. It is understood that no

form of compensation exists other than those described above.

All data obtained from this research will remain

confidential. The University of Florida will protect the


confidentiality of this document and your records from this

research to the extent provided by law.

I have fully explained to the

nature and purpose of the above-described procedure and the

benefits and risks that are involved in its performance. I

have answered and will answer all questions to the best of

my ability. I may be contacted at telephone #

Signature of person obtaining consent Date

I have been fully informed of the above-described procedure

with its possible benefits and risks and I have received a

copy of this description. I have given permission for my/my

child's participation in this study.

Signature of relative, parent, or guardian Date

Witness to signature



Baby's birthdate Sex M F

Mother's age Father's age

Ages of other children living in the home

Names and relationships of others living in the home

Level of education: Mother Father

Occupation: Mother_ Father

Describe any changes in the father's employment status since

the baby's birth (such as promotion, job change, laid off)

Mother returned to work since the birth? y n

If so, on what date? Occupation?

How many hours weekly? Still working?

If not, stopped working when?

Who regularly (7 hours or more daily, 4 or more days per week)

cares for the baby when the baby is awake? mother

father relative_ babysitter or neighbor

day care center_ two share equally

On the average, how many hours weekly does the mother care for

the baby when the baby is awake? Father?

On the average, how much time weekly is the baby with a

caregiver who is not the parent?

Have you changed babysitters/day care centers in the past year

for any reason? y n # times___ Reason


Has either parent missed work in the past year due to

caretaking problems? y n # days mother # days

father Reasons

Have you cancelled any social engagements because of

caretaking problems? y n # times __ Reason

Has the child ever been separated from the mother for a period

of 24 hours or longer (such as for a vacation,

hospitalization, etc.)? y n If so, date

Reason__ Length of separation

Caretaker during this time

Does your child regularly have contact with other infants or

young children? y n Circumstances

Total family income


of Episode Description of Episode


Experimenter will accompany you and your
child to the playroom, and show you your

3 minutes 2. MOTHER AND BABY

Try to interest your baby in toy play,
then return to your chair. Respond
naturally and appropriately to your
child's initiatives, but try not to
initiate interaction on your own.


First minute: stranger sits quietly
Second minute: stranger chats with
Third minute: stranger begins to play
with baby

3 minutes 4. BABY AND STRANGER
(or less)
Knock on window signals your departure.
Walk quietly to the observation room
door and leave the room, closing the
door behind you.

3 minutes 5. MOTHER AND BABY

Talk loudly before opening the door so
baby knows you're coming. Pause in
doorway to allow baby to greet you.
Comfort and soothe your child, if
necessary. When baby is ready, try to
reinterest him/her in toy play, and
return to your chair.

3 minutes 6. BABY ALONE
(or less)
Knock on window signals your departure.
Walk quietly to the observation room
door, say "good-bye" to your baby, and
leave the room, closing the door.


3 minutes 7. BABY AND STRANGER
(or less)
Stranger will try to comfort baby, if

3 minutes 8. MOTHER AND BABY

Talk loudly before opening the door so
baby knows you're coming. Pause in
doorway to allow baby to greet you.
Comfort and soothe your child, if
needed. When baby is ready, try to
reinterest him/her in toy play, and
return to your chair.

Remain in the room; we will return
shortly to end the session.


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child development research (Vol. 3). Chicago: University of
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Belsky, J., Garduque, L., & Hrncir, E. (1984). Assessing
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infant and family development project, III: The origins of
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Bowlby, J. (1973). Attachment and loss. Volume 2:
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Bowlby, J. (1977). The making and breaking of affectional
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Roberta Ann Isleib was born on January 14, 1953, in

Hackensack, New Jersey. She was the second of four children

born to Janet Burdette and Charles Robert Isleib. She and her

family adapted to several cross country moves by spending time

together: reading, camping, traveling. She entered Princeton

University in 1971 with plans to prepare for medical school,

but amended these in favor of majoring in French literature

and art history. After graduation and a year of travel and

work, she attended the University of Tennessee and obtained a

master's degree in vocational rehabilitation counseling. The

following two years were spent in the foothills of the Great

Smoky Mountains as a rural rehabilitation counselor. In

1980, she moved to Florida to enter the doctoral program in

clinical psychology. She recently completed her internship at

Yale University, working as a primary clinician on an

adolescent inpatient unit. Currently, Ms. Isleib is employed

at the Yale University Health Plan, Division of Mental

Hygiene, as a postgraduate fellow.

I certify that I have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a
dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

Suzaine Bpnett Johnon, Chairman
Associate Professor of Clinical

I certify that I have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a
dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

Jaes H. Johnson U
As ciate Professor of Clinical
P ychology

I certify that I have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a
dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

Anarew Bradlyn
Assistant Professor oiClinical

I certify that I have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a
dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

Patricia Miller
Associate Professor of Psychology

I certify that I have read this study and that in my
opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of scholarly
presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and quality, as a
dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

Randy Cart r
Associate Professor of Statistics

This dissertation was submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the
College of Health Related Professions and to the Graduate
School and was accepted as partial fulfillment of the
requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

December, 1985 L S_____
Dean, College of Health Related

Dean, Graduate School

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