Mother-Child Attachment Relationships in Fragile Families

Kimberly S Howard, Columbia University
Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Columbia University
Gitta H Lubke, University of Notre Dame

The present study will examine profiles of mother-child attachment in a large, nationally representative sample of non-marital births in large US cities. Attachment was measured using a 39-item Q-Sort completed by mothers when their children were 36 months of age. The data were analyzed to identify both the factor structure of the attachment measure as well as clusters of relationship types that were represented by these factors. Preliminary analyses suggested 8 distinct factors of attachment that represented 2 primary clusters of mother-child relationships. The two clusters generally were best described as including secure and insecure children, respectively. Additional analyses will explore these relationships using Factor Mixture Modeling in order to further explore the heterogeneity in attachment profiles using a model-based perspective. The results have important implications for understanding the nature of attachment across diverse family structures.

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Presented in Poster Session 7