Does Self-Control Influence Maternal Attachment? A Reciprocal Effects Analysis from Early Childhood Through Middle Adolescence
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The purpose of this study is twofold. First, this study assesses the extent to which self-control and maternal attachment mutually influence one another. Second, it investigates whether this process continues to occur during adolescence. To date, studies of the etiology of self-control have yet to adequately address these issues, despite the fact that a number of theoretical perspectives emphasize the reciprocal nature of the parent-child relationship.
The current study seeks to shed light on these issues by examining the relationship between self-control and maternal attachment using structural equation modeling for eight waves of data spanning a period of time that encompasses early childhood through middle adolescence.
The results yield two findings bearing on the adequacy of Gottfredson and Hirschi’s model of self-control development. First, measures of self-control and maternal attachment were found to mutually influence one another during childhood. Second, these effects were reduced to nonsignificance during adolescence.
This study finds that self-control emerges during childhood in a complex manner in which it both shapes and is shaped by parental attachment.
KeywordsSelf-control Child effects Reciprocal effects Childhood Adolescence Attachment
The Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development (SECCYD) was conducted by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Early Child Care Research Network, supported by NICHD through a cooperative agreement that calls for scientific collaboration between the grantees and the NICHD staff.
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