College of Psychology: Faculty Articles

Title

Mother-Child Attachment and Gender Identity in Preadolescence

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-1-2013

Keywords

Gender identityMother-child relationshipAttachment securityFelt securityGender typicalityGender contentednessFelt pressure for gender differentiation

Publication Title

Sex Roles

ISSN

0360-0025

Volume

69

Issue/No.

11

Abstract

We investigated the relations of two dimensions of attachment insecurity (avoidant with mother, preoccupied with mother) to three dimensions of gender identity (gender typicality, gender contentedness, felt pressure for gender differentiation) in preadolescent children. We hypothesized that attachment insecurity (of either sort) fosters felt pressure for gender differentiation but impedes the development of felt gender typicality and gender contentedness. Participants were 863 Black, Hispanic, and White fifth graders attending public schools in the southeast United States (443 girls, 420 boys; M age = 11.1 years). Each attachment measure was associated with each gender identity measure in the expected way, but some associations hinged on child gender or ethnicity/race. Avoidant attachment was negatively associated with felt gender typicality only for White children, negatively associated with gender contentedness for the entire sample, and positively associated with felt pressure for gender differentiation only for White children. Preoccupied attachment was negatively associated with felt gender typicality for the entire sample, negatively associated with gender contentedness only for boys, and positively associated with felt pressure for gender differentiation only for girls.

DOI

10.1007/s11199-013-0310-3

This document is currently not available here.

Peer Reviewed

Find in your library

Share

COinS