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Unformatted text preview: Adult Attachment, Parent Emotion, and Observed Parenting Behavior: Mediator and Moderator Models Emma K. Adam, Megan R. Gunnar, and Akiko Tanaka In a middle-class sample of mothers of 2-year-olds, adult attachment classifications measured in the Adult Attachment Interview (AAI) were related to maternal self-reported emotional well-being and observed parenting behavior, and the potential mediating and moderating roles of maternal emotion were tested. Mothers classified as dismissing on the AAI reported significantly lower levels of positive affectivity. Mothers classified as preoccupied reported significantly higher levels of negative affectivity and anxiety. Preoccupied mothers were observed to be significantly higher on angry/intrusive parenting, but this association was not mediated by attachment-related differences in maternal emotion. Maternal emotional well-being did, however, moderate the associations between adult attachment and parenting behavior: Dismissing attachment was significantly associated with lower warmth/responsiveness only among mothers with higher levels of depressive symptoms. Emotion plays a central role in attachment theory and research. In infants, separation from or loss of a caregiver are typically associated with feelings of anxiety, sadness, and anger, and the presence of the caregiver is associated with feelings of security and joy (Bowlby, 1979). Throughout childhood, adoles- cence, and even into adulthood, attachment relation- ships remain important in the elicitation and regulation of emotional states (Adam & Gunnar, 2001; Kobak, 1999). Emotion also plays an important role in theory and research on parenting. Within- person changes in parent emotional state motivate changes in parenting behavior (Dix, 1991), and individual differences in parent emotional well- being relate to differences in parenting (Field, 1995; Lovejoy, Graczyk, O’Hare, & Neuman, 2000; Teti, Gelfand, Messinger, & Isabella, 1995). Prior research has shown associations between adult attachment and parenting behavior (Cohn, Cowan, Cowan, & Pearson, 1992; Crowell & Feld- man, 1988; Das Eiden, Teti, & Corns, 1995; Ward & Carlson, 1995), between adult attachment and parent emotional well-being (Pianta, Egeland, & Adam, 1996), and between parent emotion and parenting behavior (Dix, 1991; Lovejoy et al., 2000), yet little attention has been paid to the interrelations among these three sets of variables. In this study, we examined whether associations between adult at- tachment and parenting are accounted for or mediated by attachment-related differences in par- ent emotional well-being. We also examined whether the strength or direction of associations between adult attachment and parenting behavior are altered or moderated by differences in parent emotional well-being....
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- Fall '11
- depressive symptoms, Adult Attachment