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Mother-child attachment patterns in mothers with and without a history of adverse childhood experiences

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According to attachment theory, infants establish an attachment bond that gives them confidence and comfort, and the figure of attachment forms a secure basis for the infant. A history of abuse and neglect in the mother can affect her style of attachment to her infant. The aim in the present study is to investigate mother-child attachment patterns in mothers with and without a history of abuse. Of the 94 mothers, 50% had a childhood history of abuse, and of these 47 mothers, 61.7% had experienced physical abuse, 53.19% had experienced emotional abuse, 29.78% had experienced negligence and 6.38% had experienced sexual abuse. There was no statistically significant difference between the groups with and without a history of abuse in this regard. When the attachment patterns of the mothers in the two groups with their own mothers were evaluated, there was a significant difference in terms of their attachment patterns with their fathers. Although no significant relationship was observed between the history of abuse and attachment pattern, mothers with a history of abuse in childhood exhibited an insecure attachment. Education level can be a protective factor in establishing an attachment pattern, while intergenerational interactions can be suggested to affect attachment patterns.

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The authors would like to thank all the mothers who participated in this study.

Author information

NMK and FSD collaborated with the design and writing of the study. NMK, FSD, FNBA, DFO and BAS asisted with the data analyses and writing of the study. NMK collected the data. NMK, FSD and DFO collaborated in the writing and editing of the final manuscript.

Correspondence to Nazmi Mutlu Karakaş.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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All procedures performed in syudies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standarts of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standarts. The study was approved by the Başkent University ethics committee (KA17/73).

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Karakaş, N.M., Sarı, B.A., Aksakal, F.N.B. et al. Mother-child attachment patterns in mothers with and without a history of adverse childhood experiences. Curr Psychol (2020).

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  • Abuse
  • Attachment
  • Mother