This study examines the attachment quality and how this changed over time among infants who had cleft lip and palate (CLP), by conducting a prospective longitudinal study addressing the effects of this type of perinatal event on the parent–infant relationship and the emotional development of the infants. At 12 months of age, the Strange Situation Paradigm (SSP; M. Ainsworth, M.C. Blehar, E. Waters, & T. Wall, 1978) was administered to a sample of 38 CLP infants (born between 2003 and 2010) and 17 healthy controls. At 4 years of age, the Attachment Story Completion Task (ASCT; I. Bretherton, D. Ridgeway, & J. Cassidy, 1990) was administered to 32 individuals from the CLP sample and 14 from the control group. As reported in the literature, CLP infants display secure attachment behaviors as frequently as do control infants (55%). However, a more detailed analysis of the attachment scales revealed that CLP infants show more avoidance and less proximity seeking. In addition, a closer examination of the subcategories of attachment styles revealed that most CLP infants (71%) displayed distal attachment strategies such as the B1/B2 or A1/A2 subcategories. At 4 years old, CLP infants clearly displayed more deactivation and less security than did the control sample. Moreover, when detailing the evolution of attachment individually, almost 60% of the CLP children showing distal strategies at 12 months became deactivated or disorganized when they reached 4 years. Indeed, subtle differences in attachment behaviors at 12 months old—which can be considered marginally secure at that age—may reveal attachment vulnerabilities, which seem to be more apparent over the course of development.
Infant Mental Health Journal – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
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