The proposed research examines the degree to which childhood and adolescent experiences with maternal and paternal caregivers shape individuals'basic expectations about the degree to which significant others are likely to be available, responsive, and helpful under challenging circumstances. There is increasing evidence that these expectations-which are reflected in variation in secure base script knowledge-represent fundamental psychological resources in terms of supporting healthy psychological adjustment in the years of maturity. (Secure base script knowledge is reflected in an individual's ability to generate narratives in which attachment-relevant events are encountered, a clear need for assistance is communicated, competent help is provided, and the problem is resolved). Our proposal seeks to provide the very first evidence regarding the developmental origins of secure base script knowledge in interpersonal experiences with primary caregivers from infancy through late adolescence. More specifically, the proposed study takes advantage of an unparalleled opportunity to address unresolved questions about the developmental foundations of secure base script knowledge by using the existing longitudinal NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development (SECCYD) sample. Approximately 850 SECCYD participants have been followed from infancy through age 17.5, at which time we recently administered the Adult Attachment Interview (AAI), a resource-intensive protocol that examines the degree to which adults are able to produce internally consistent, coherent narratives about their early childhood experiences. Although beyond the scope of the R01 grant that supported our recent work, at age 17.5 we also administered (but have not yet coded) the Attachment Script Assessment (ASA) to a sub-set of participants assessed in-person (n=660). The adolescent version of the ASA is a relatively new, easy to administer, and cost-effective assessment that measures secure base script knowledge with respect to maternal and paternal caregivers. Although there is increasing evidence that the ASA has excellent psychometric properties, including test-retest reliability (Vaughn et al., 2006), predictive validity in relation to caregiving behaviors and attachment security in the next generation (Bost et al., 2006;Verrmssimo &Salvaterra, 2006), and convergent validity with the AAI (Waters &Waters, 2006), there is thus far no longitudinal data available on the roots of secure base knowledge in childhood and adolescent experiences with primary caregivers. The proposed grant will support coding and analysis related to ASAs collected from the SECCYD cohort at age 17.5.

Public Health Relevance

The proposed research examines the degree to which childhood and adolescent experiences with maternal and paternal caregivers shape individuals'basic expectations about the degree to which significant others are likely to be available, responsive, and helpful under challenging circumstances. There is increasing evidence that these expectations-which are reflected in variation in secure base script knowledge-represent fundamental psychological resources in terms of supporting healthy psychological adjustment in the years of maturity. Our proposal seeks to provide the very first evidence regarding the origins of secure base script knowledge in interpersonal experiences with primary caregivers from infancy through late adolescence, Aims fundamental to the goals of NIH generally and the EKS NICHD in particular.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Type
Research Project (R01)
Project #
5R01HD069442-02
Application #
8302190
Study Section
Psychosocial Development, Risk and Prevention Study Section (PDRP)
Program Officer
Maholmes, Valerie
Project Start
2011-08-01
Project End
2014-05-31
Budget Start
2012-06-01
Budget End
2014-05-31
Support Year
2
Fiscal Year
2012
Total Cost
$220,050
Indirect Cost
$36,940
Name
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Department
Psychology
Type
Schools of Arts and Sciences
DUNS #
041544081
City
Champaign
State
IL
Country
United States
Zip Code
61820