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Attachment and teacher-reported behavior problems during the preschool and early school-age period

  • Ellen Moss (a1), Sophie Parent (a2), Catherine Gosselin (a1), Denise Rousseau (a1) and Diane St-Laurent (a1)...


The association between attachment and behavior problems was examined for a nonclinical, diverse sociocconomic status (SES) French-Canadian sample of 77 children. Attachment classifications were assigned on the basis of reunion behavior with mother when the children were between 5 and 7 years of age. Teachers rated children's problem behavior using the Socioaffective Profile within 3 months of the attachment assessment (Time 2) and 2 years earlier (Time 1). Results indicated that children with a D classification were more likely than secures or other insecure groups (A or C) to be classified in the problem group at both ages. A majority (80%) of the D group showed problem behavior at some point during the 3–7 year period compared with a minority of A, B, or C children. However, only about 30% of controlling children (like other insecures) had stable problems. Analyses of subclinical scores showed that both controlling and avoidant groups were lower than secures in social competence at Time 1. At Time 2, A group children were lower in externalizing behavior, and C group children were higher. These results extend the association between the D classification and maladaptation previously found for clinical and high-risk samples to a nonclinical, mixed SES sample.


Corresponding author

Ellen Moss, Dept. of Psychology, University of Quebec at Montreal, C.P. 8888, Succ. Centreville, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, H3C 3P8


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