Maternal state of mind regarding attachment, maternal depression and children's family drawings in the early school years

Irene Fihrer, Cathy McMahon*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The current study explored how children's family drawings in the early school years might be related to their exposure to recurrent episodes of maternal depression. We also examined prospectively relations among maternal state of mind regarding attachment derived from the Adult Attachment Interview and earlier mother-child attachment from the Strange Situation Procedure (both measured when the child was 12-15 months old) and later family drawings. Seventy-five mothers were assessed for symptoms of depression periodically between birth and child age 6-8 years. At this age, children completed a family drawing rated using an attachment-based scoring system. Both mothers' state of mind regarding attachment and their overall depression were modestly, but significantly, correlated with a global rating of the child's drawings. When both predictors were considered together, however, neither was significant, reflecting collinearity between the two variables. In this study, women with a nonautonomous state of mind regarding attachment were significantly more likely to experience recurrent depression. The earlier classification of the child's attachment to the mother from the Strange Situation Procedure was not related to the family drawing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)537-556
Number of pages20
JournalAttachment and Human Development
Volume11
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2009

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