Mediating and moderating processes underlying the association between maternal cognition and infant attachment

Erinn Hawkins*, Sheri Madigan, Greg Moran, David R. Pederson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


The goal of this longitudinal study was to elucidate aspects of maternal cognition associated with maternal sensitivity and the development of infant attachment. Seventy-seven mothers were administered a number of measures over the course of the infant's first year, including the Adult Attachment Interview (AAI), secure base scripts, and a measure of maternal insight about her infant's behavior. Maternal sensitivity was assessed using the maternal sensitivity Q-Sort and infant attachment using the Strange Situation Procedure. Associations were found between AAI coherence, secure base scripts, and maternal sensitivity; however, no direct association was found between maternal insight and sensitivity. A mediator-moderator model suggested that: 1) AAI coherence mediated the association between secure base scripts and maternal insight; and 2) maternal insight and sensitivity interacted to predict secure attachment. Findings suggest the need to further investigate the role of cognitive factors implicated in the intergenerational transmission of attachment. (C) 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-33
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Applied Developmental Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2015
Externally publishedYes

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