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Exploring Associations Between Maternal Rejection and Insensitivity and Attachment Behaviors in Infancy

Year: 2023

Presenter Name: Caroline Martin

Infants require high caregiver sensitivity to develop healthy socio-emotional skills. A mother's ability to be sensitive toward her infant's needs and cues is significantly influenced by the amount of sensitivity or rejection she receives from her own caregivers. Mothers who have experienced childhood adversity are more likely to misinterpret their baby's biological cues as signs of rejection of their care. This encourages the child's development of abnormal coping mechanisms so that they may better survive on their own, creating a loop of insecure attachment persisting across generations. In the absence of a trustworthy caregiver, infants may develop insecure attachment styles, such as avoidant or anxious attachment, through coping mechanisms to offset their lack of received caregiver sensitivity. Down the line, these children might perform poorly in school, abuse drugs and alcohol, and even choose peer groups with shared insecurities and trauma. It is absolutely essential to understand how early caregiver relationships affect the development of an infant's socio-emotional skills since the trajectory of a child's life is highly impacted by these earliest attachments. Comparatively, Utah has the highest rate of mental illness in the US, according to SAMHSA's 2019-2020 National Survey On Drug Use And Health. There is a crucial need within our state to evaluate emotion dysregulation in order to halt this intergenerational cycle of hereditary psychopathology and poor developmental outcomes. My research sheds light on how the cycle of transmitted insecure attachment can be interrupted. This impacts current mothers, but it also impacts Utah's future generations. I aim to specifically examine sensitivity levels among mothers with high levels of emotion dysregulation to understand better the perceptions mothers develop towards their babies' behaviors depending on how much neglect they receive for themselves.
University / Institution: University of Utah
Type: Poster
Format: In Person
Presentation #A62
SESSION A (9:00-10:30AM)
Area of Research: Social Sciences
Faculty Mentor: Elisabeth Conradt