Mental representations of attachment in day care providers

John N. Constantino, Heather Olesh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Mental representations of attachment of 31 day-care providers were assessed using the Adult Attachment Interview (AAI), and compared with established observational measures of their behavior with the children under their care. Contrary to expectation, there was no significant association between the caregivers' mental representations of attachment and their observed behavior. Teacher-report ratings of aggressive behavior were obtained for 135 children who had been under the care of these providers. Ten of the 13 children who scored in the clinical range for aggressive behavior were known to have been under the care of a provider with a secure mental representation of attachment for an extended period of time (average 14 months), but the average age of first exposure to such a provider in this study was 16 months. For center-based day-care providers, standardized observational assessments of caregiving behavior appear to be unrelated to mental representations of attachment. Children who, during the second year of life, were cared for by providers with secure mental representations of attachment were not necessarily protected from abnormally aggressive behavioral outcome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)138-147
Number of pages10
JournalInfant Mental Health Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 1999


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