Cognitive and Physiological Mediators of the Link Between Maternal Attachment and Self-Reported Responses to Child Distress
Brett, Bonnie Erin
Cassidy, Jude A
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Given recent evidence that caregivers' responses to their children's distress are predictive of a host of child outcomes, the goal of the present study was to examine attachment related differences in maternal responses to child distress. In addition, I examined whether the link between maternal attachment and maternal responses to child distress was mediated by maternal negative attribution biases about infant distress and maternal electrodermal reactivity in the context of infant distress. Path analyses revealed that (a) maternal attachment-related anxiety was positively related to maternal distress reactions to child distress, (b) that maternal negative attribution biases were negatively related to supportive maternal responses, and (c) that maternal electrodermal reactivity was positively linked with unsupportive maternal responses. These findings advance the literature on the maternal characteristics associated with supportive and unsupportive maternal responses to child distress.