Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




This dissertation was designed to measure the longitudinal effects of several maternal and infant variables, on the security of attachment as assessed by the Strange Situation. The sixty mother-infant dyads who participated in this study were recruited from three Tidewater prenatal clinics. The goal of this dissertation was to determine the correlation of maternal and infant constructs with the criterion variables of maternal perception of her baby and the Strange Situation. The statistical technique of path analysis was utilized to analyze data collected over five periods: prenatal, postpartum, three-, six- and sixteen-months. The results of the path analysis revealed that the prenatal variables, maternal sources of social support and perception of early childhood experiences predicted a significant amount of the variance in the Strange Situation classifications (secure versus insecure) when the infants were sixteen months old. The path analysis interpretation also demonstrated that the maternal variables: (1) sources of social support; (2) emotional status; (3) knowledge of infant growth and development; (4) maternal personality integration; (5) maternal age; and (6) measures of stress all influenced the maternal perception of her infant during at least one of the data collection periods. Finally, the path analysis demonstrated that infant variables: (1) gender; (2) differences in neonatal responsiveness; (3) temperament; and (4) maternal-infant interaction also impacted upon the mother's perception of her baby. The only variable that was not related to either the Maternal Perception of the Infant or the Strange Situation was the Infant Developmental Status as measured by the Bayley Scales of Infant Mental and Motor Development Behavior Record.



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