Attachment Key to Child Behavior

READING, England, March 29 (UPI) — British, Dutch and U.S. researchers say early bonds between children and their mothers affect behavior later in a child’s life.

The researchers found behavioral problems such as aggression or hostility in children — especially boys — are more likely in children insecurely attached to their mothers when young.


“The results suggest that the effects of attachment are reliable and relatively persistent over time,” study lead author Pasco Fearon of the University of Reading in England said in a statement. “More specifically, children who seem unable to maintain a coherent strategy for coping with separation are at greatest risk for later behavior problems and aggression.”

Fearon and colleagues conducted a review of 69 studies involving 6,000 children age 12 and younger dealing with attachment theory — in which children who form secure attachments with responsive and comforting caregivers have fewer behavioral problems than inconsistently treated, often discouraged or rejected children who have formed insecure attachments.

The meta-analysis was published in Child Development.

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