Intergenerational aspects of the development of aggression: A preliminary report

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Abstract

Across studies in a variety of environmental settings, secure attachment relationships early in life are associated with a lower rate of abnormally aggressive patterns of behavior later in childhood. The quality of an attachment relationship can be predicted by a recently developed measure of parents' mental representations of their own early childhood relationships, the Adult Attachment Interview (AAI). AAI classifications of single parents of abnormally aggressive preschoolers (n = 10) from two low income day care centers were compared with those of single parents of age-, race-, sex-, and center-matched controls (n = 10). All abnormally aggressive children had parents classified as insecure on the AAl; parents of all but one of the nonaggressive controls were classified as secure (p < .001). The AAI may be a useful intergenerational predictor of antisocial and resilient outcomes among children for whom a single caregiver is the only resource for longstanding attachment relationships. Efforts to enhance the constellation of children's early attachment relationships may serve to prevent antisocial outcome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)176-182
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics
Volume17
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 1996

Keywords

  • Adult Attachment Interview
  • Aggression
  • Antisocial behavior
  • Attachment
  • Day care
  • Resilience

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