Does Temperament Influence the Parent-Child Attachment Relationship?

Butler, Julie Karen
Shinkfield, Carol
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Master of Health Science
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Auckland University of Technology

This dissertation explores whether individual temperament influences the development of the parent-child attachment relationship. Temperament theory and attachment theory are explored, and neuro-scientific research is investigated in relation to the origins and impact of temperament and attachment in infant brain development. The research method used in this study is a modified systematic literature review, with the findings summarised but not quantified, as is the case in a more traditional literature review. A considerable amount of the literature clearly delineated each construct as a separately operating entity in the development of the infant. However, many researchers have investigated these constructs simultaneously and established that temperament and attachment are in fact interwoven and are bi-directional in nature; in other words, both exert their influence on development. This study shows that both parent and child are active participants in the parent-child attachment relationship, each bringing their individual contributions to bear on its development. The research implies that temperament does, therefore, exert its influence on the development of the parent-child attachment relationship. Furthermore, the findings clearly highlight that the parent/s have the greater resolve within the relationship and that difficulties in individual temperament styles are able to be mediated through a parent’s sensitivity and responsiveness to the infant’s signals and developmental needs.

Child , Attachment , Pyschotherapy , Temperament , Infant
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