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Child care predictors of infant-mother attachment security at age 12 months

This paper will present initial research outcomes from the child care component of the Sydney Family Development Project, a longitudinal study of emotional development in infancy and early childhood. The study discussed in this paper included 145 first-born children and their mothers. Interviews with mothers at infant-age 4 and 12 months provided details of children's experience of non-maternal child care. Security of infant-mother attachment was assessed in the Strange Situation procedure at 12 months. Results indicated that amount and type of child care were significant predictors of attachment security. The use of more than 10 hours per week of non-maternal care was associated with higher proportions of secure attachment. Children attending formal, government-regulated child care services also had a greater likelihood of being securely attached than those using informal, non-regulated child care. Discussion will focus on the implications of these results for policy and practice in the provision of infant care. (author abstract)
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