Maternal Depression and the Quality of Early Attachment: An Examination of Infants, Preschoolers, and Their Mothers

Douglas M. Teti, Donna M. Gelfand, Daniel S. Messinger, Russell Isabella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

347 Scopus citations


Relations between maternal depression and attachment security among 50 infant-mother and 54 preschool child-mother dyads were examined using the classification system of M.D.S. Ainsworth, M.C. Blehar, E. Waters, and S. Wall (1978) and M. Main and J. Solomon (1990) for infants and the Preschool Assessment of Attachment (P.M. Crittenden, 1992b) for preschoolers. Attachment insecurity was significantly associated with maternal depression among infants and preschoolers. Furthermore, children without unitary, coherent attachment strategies tended to have more chronically impaired mothers than did children with coherent, organized attachment strategies. Results stress the importance of severity-chronicity of parental illness in the study of depression and early attachment relations, and that differences between children with and without coherent, organized attachment strategies are as clinically informative as are differences between secure and insecure children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)364-376
Number of pages13
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1995


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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