Infant Age in Months Figure 3.3 Infant negativity change groups. (Adapted from Belsky, Fish, & Isabella, 1991.)

very much related (see Cassidy, 1994). Moreover, these data made intuitive sense in suggesting that children who ended up insecure at the end of the first year of life were the ones whose lives, at least while with their mothers, became less pleasurable over time.

Even though change in positive emotionality by itself, but not change in negative emotionality by itself, predicted attachment security, it was not the case that stability and change in negativity were not at all related to attachment security. This is because we discovered that certain combinations of stability and change in negative and positive emotionality predicted attachment security. Specifically, insecurity was most likely to be observed (i.e., 53% of the time) when (1) infant negativity remained high over time (i.e., high-high group) or increased (i.e., low-to-high group) and (2) infant positivity remained low over time (i.e., low-low group) or decreased (i.e., high-to-low group). In contrast, when none of these conditions obtained, insecurity was quite rare (i.e., 6%). To be noted is that in this work looking at change in positive and negative emotionality, we purposefully did not contrast effects of change against those of temperament or emotionality at a single point in time. And the reason for this was that we were explicitly pursuing a developmental approach which focused upon how specific emotional features of temperament change, not simply where they end up at some later time point or where they begin. Indeed, in our mind, one error often made in much temperament research, whether related to attachment or not, involves the assessment of dimensions of temperament at a single point in time. Such an approach fails to acknowledge that dimensions of temperament develop, or at least change; that is, they are not fixed.

When considered in their entirety, the findings summarized above regarding temperament and attachment dispel the notions that temperament determines attachment security in some simple, straightforward fashion or that there is no relation whatsoever between temperament and insecurity. Rather, they clearly and collectively suggest that the relation between these two constructs is complex. The fact, moreover, that stability and change in infant positive and negative emotionality between 3

and 9 months could be predicted using measures of the parent and family functioning obtained before the child was born and of parenting obtained when infants were 3 months of age strongly—with positive features of parents' personalities, their marriages and their parenting predicting improvements in temperament and the reverse being true of negative features of parents, marriages and parenting—suggests that it is a mistake to presume that emotional features of temperament reflect, exclusively, some inborn characteristic of the infant (Belsky et al., 1991). Because they can change, and because such change appears tied to experiences in the family, understanding of such change may tell us as much about the development of attachment security as it does about presumed constitutional features of the child.

Recent studies which take into account biological inheritance provide further evidence that attachment security is not a direct function of temperament. In perhaps the first test of the heritability of attachment security, Ricciuti (1992) combined data from three samples of twins and, after comparing concordance of attachment security across identical twins (who share 100% of the same genes) and fraternal twins (who share 50%), concluded that attachment security was not demonstrably heritable, at least in the case of 12- to 22-month-olds. More recently, O'Connor and Croft (2001) employed behavior genetic modeling of attachment data collected on 110 identical and fraternal twin pairs seen in the Strange Situation as preschoolers and detected only modest genetic influence, but substantial environmental influence—consistent with findings reviewed above linking maternal sensitivity and attachment security.

The largest and most comprehensive study of the heritability of attachment security conducted to date provides further evidence of the role of environmental factors rather than biological or temperamental ones in shaping attachment security. Indeed, when Bakermans-Kranenburg and Bokhorst (2003) subjected to analysis data on more than 200 pairs of twins, siblings, and unrelated children seen in the Strange Situation as infants, they discovered that biological inheritance did not play a role in determining whether children were classified as secure or insecure in their attachment to mother. More specifically, 48% of the variance in attachment security was explained by shared environmental influences and 52% by unique environmental influence and measurement error. Significantly, similar results highlighting the role of shared environment and yielding very little evidence of genetic effects emerged when the focus of attention was security of attachment to father. In contrast, indices of temperament, reflecting degree of distress in the Strange Situation, proved highly heritable. In sum, while security or insecurity does not appear to be a function of biological inheritance or of temperament per se, variation in emotionality seen in the Strange Situation, even if not the regulation of such emotion in the context of interacting with mother, does seem to be heritable.

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Finding Your Confidence

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