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Maternal Sensitivity and the Security of Infant-Mother Attachment: A Q-Sort Study
Child Development (1990)
  • David R. Pederson, University of Western Ontario
  • Greg Moran, University of Western Ontario
  • Carolyn Sitko, University of Western Ontario
  • Kathy Campbell, University of Western Ontario
  • Kristen Ghesquire, University of Western Ontario
  • Heather Acton, University of Western Ontario

40 mothers and their 12-month-old infants were observed twice at home by 2 observers for 2 hours. After the second visit, the observers described the infant using the Waters Attachment Behavior Q-sort and the mother's interactive behavior with the Maternal Behavior Q-sort developed by the present authors and Ainsworth's rating scales. Maternal sensitivity was unrelated to maternal age, income, or SES, but correlated positively with maternal education. Mothers of more difficult children were less sensitive. A strong relation was found between infant attachment and maternal sensitivity as measured by the Maternal Behavior Qsort and by the Ainsworth scales. Using the Q-sort procedure, mothers of more secure infants were more frequently characterized as noticing their babies' signals and using these signals to guide their behavior; they also were more knowledgeable about their infant and appeared to enjoy them more than mothers of less secure infants.

  • Maternal Sensitivity,
  • Infant-Mother Attachment,
  • Q-Sort
Publication Date
December, 1990
Publisher Statement
Published in: Child Development, Volume 61, Issue 6, p. 1974 - 1983. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.1990.tb03579.x
Citation Information
David R. Pederson, Greg Moran, Carolyn Sitko, Kathy Campbell, et al.. "Maternal Sensitivity and the Security of Infant-Mother Attachment: A Q-Sort Study" Child Development Vol. 61 Iss. 6 (1990)
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