Attachment Predicts College Students’ Knowledge, Attitudes, and Skills for Working With Infants, Toddlers, and Families

Claire D. Vallotton, Julia Torquati, Jean Ispa, Rachel Chazan-Cohen, Jennifer Henk, Maria Fusaro, Carla A. Peterson, Lori A. Roggman, Ann M. Stacks, Gina Cook, Holly Brophy-Herb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Research Findings: Adults’ attitudes about attachment relationships are central to how they perceive and respond to children. However, little is known about how attachment styles are related to teachers’ attitudes toward and interactions with infants and toddlers. From a survey of 207 students taking early childhood (EC) courses at 4 U.S. universities, we report relations among students’ attachment styles and their (a) career goals, (b) attitudes about caring for and educating infants and young children, and (c) interaction skills for responding in developmentally supportive ways. Overall, attachment security was positively associated with career goals focused on working with younger children, knowledge about infant/toddler development, attitudes that acknowledge the importance of adult support in children’s development, and developmentally supportive interaction skills. Students who scored high on attachment fearfulness minimized the importance of adults in children’s lives, minimized the importance of the early years for later learning, and endorsed strict and controlling forms of child guidance. Practice or Policy: A conceptual mediation model linking a path from attachment to caregiving skill through knowledge and attitudes is articulated. We propose a person-centered pedagogy for infant/toddler professional preparation that provides opportunities for reflection on one’s own attachment and its effects on work with young children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)275-302
Number of pages28
JournalEarly Education and Development
Volume27
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 17 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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    Vallotton, C. D., Torquati, J., Ispa, J., Chazan-Cohen, R., Henk, J., Fusaro, M., Peterson, C. A., Roggman, L. A., Stacks, A. M., Cook, G., & Brophy-Herb, H. (2016). Attachment Predicts College Students’ Knowledge, Attitudes, and Skills for Working With Infants, Toddlers, and Families. Early Education and Development, 27(2), 275-302. https://doi.org/10.1080/10409289.2016.1087778