MATERNAL SENSITIVITY AND CONTINUITY IN TODDLER ADAPTATION
GARDNER, LEORA JOSEPHA
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The relationship of one-year attachment to maternal sensitivity and child social adaptation at two years was assessed in a middle class sample of 12 mother-daughter dyads. The relationship of a new maternal sensitivity scale (Olesker-Rothstein) to establish child (Ainsworth attachment; Sroufe socioemotional) and maternal (Sroufe Supportive Presence and Quality of Assistance) measures was evaluated.;Three separate videotaped procedures were used from which behavioral observations of mother-child interaction were coded: Ainsworth Strange Situation at one year; and a five minute freeplay situation and the Sroufe Tool Task Situation at two years.;Results indicated that subtle differences in the discrete attachment behaviors at one year predicted to distinctions in maternal sensitivity as measured by the new Olesker and Rothstein Maternal Availability Scale and in child adaptation as measured by Sroufe. A low avoidant, more involved child behavior pattern at one year predicted a high adaptive child picture at two years and a maternal behavior pattern of more initiation than contingent response in freeplay interaction with the child at two years. A more adaptive child socioemotional picture at two years as measured by Sroufe's tool task was related to: (1) high unpleasurable child affect in freeplay; (2) high maternal responsibility (Sroufe scale); and (3) higher initiation relative to lower contingency of maternal stimulation (Olesker-Rothstein scale). The Olesker-Rothstein and Sroufe maternal measures correlate highly and thus tap similar aspects of maternal sensitivity. A mother who is rated as high in quality of assistance and supportive presence on Sroufe's scale is more initiating, less contingent, and less nonparticipating available on Olesker and Rothstein's scale.;The use of discrete attachment behaviors as a means of differentiating consistent differences between securely attached children in this middle class sample was successful and might be explored in future research.