This study examined perceptions of attachment and social behavior in an ethnically diverse, low-income sample of maltreated (N = 334) and non-maltreated (N = 339) 6- to 12-year old children who attended a summer camp research program. Children completed questionnaires assessing their perceptions of security and propensity toward avoidant or preoccupied coping with their mothers, and their counselors and peers rated their social behavior. Consistent with previous research, avoidant coping was negatively correlated with both preoccupied coping and security, whereas preoccupied coping was positively correlated with security. Avoidant coping was more common among boys and showed an age-related increase that was most pronounced in girls. In contrast, preoccupied coping was more common among girls and showed an age-related decrease that was comparable for girls and boys. Children who reported high levels of preoccupied coping were less liked and accepted by their peers, and those who reported high levels of security were seen as less withdrawn by their counselors. Overall, maltreated children reported slightly lower levels of avoidant coping, but did not differ from non-maltreated children in terms of security or preoccupied coping. When attachment was examined in relation to maltreatment characteristics, early maltreatment was associated with more avoidant and less preoccupied coping, whereas recent maltreatment was associated with less security. Counselors and peers perceived maltreated children as less likeable and more prone to problematic social behaviors, but there was no indication that attachment mediated the association between maltreatment and these behaviors.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. August 2012. Major: Child Psychology. Advisor: Dante Cicchetti, Ph.D. 1 computer file (PDF); viii, 124 pages.
Jagadeesan, Lisa Michelle.
Attachment and social behavior in middle childhood: a comparison of maltreated and non-maltreated children..
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