Attachment and Effortful Control in Toddlerhood Predict Academic Achievement Over a Decade Later

Lilian Dindo, Rebecca L. Brock, Nazan Aksan, Wakiza Gamez, Grazyna Kochanska, Lee Anna Clark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


A child’s attachment to his or her caregiver is central to the child’s development. However, current understanding of subtle, indirect, and complex long-term influences of attachment on various areas of functioning remains incomplete. Research has shown that (a) parent-child attachment influences the development of effortful control and that (b) effortful control influences academic success. The entire developmental cascade among these three constructs over many years, however, has rarely been examined. This article reports a multimethod, decade-long study that examined the influence of mother-child attachment and effortful control in toddlerhood on school achievement in early adolescence. Both attachment security and effortful control uniquely predicted academic achievement a decade later. Effortful control mediated the association between early attachment and school achievement during adolescence. This work suggests that attachment security triggers an adaptive cascade by promoting effortful control, a vital set of skills necessary for future academic success.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1786-1795
Number of pages10
JournalPsychological Science
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017


  • academic performance
  • attachment
  • effortful control
  • longitudinal
  • temperament

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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