NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1177389
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018-May
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0012-1649
Developmental Processes across the First Two Years of Parenthood: Stability and Change in Adult Attachment Style
Stern, Jessica A.; Fraley, R. Chris; Jones, Jason D.; Gross, Jacquelyn T.; Shaver, Phillip R.; Cassidy, Jude
Developmental Psychology, v54 n5 p975-988 May 2018
The first months after becoming a new parent are a unique and important period in human development. Despite substantial research on the many social and biological changes that occur during the first months of parenthood, little is known about changes in mothers' attachment. The present study examines developmental stability and change in first-time mothers' attachment style across the first 2 years of motherhood. At Time 1, 162 economically stressed primiparous mothers (M[subscript age] = 23.98 years, SD = 5.18) completed measures of attachment anxiety and avoidance at five time points: when their children were 0, 6, 12, 18, and 24 months of age. Converging results of stability functions and latent growth curve models suggest that attachment styles were generally stable during the first 2 years of motherhood, even in this economically stressed sample. Furthermore, model comparisons revealed that a prototype model better characterized the developmental dynamics of mothers' attachment style than did a revisionist model, consistent with previous studies of adults and adolescents. This suggests that a relatively enduring prototype underlies mothers' attachment style and anchors the extent to which mothers experience attachment-related changes following the birth of their first child. Within this overall picture of continuity, however, some mothers did show change over time, and specific factors emerged as moderators of attachment stability, including maternal depressive symptoms and overall psychological distress, as well as sensitive care from their own mothers. Findings shed light on patterns of continuity and change in new parents' development.
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale; Dyadic Adjustment Scale; Social Support Questionnaire; Beck Depression Inventory; Brief Symptom Inventory
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A