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Mother's Self-Efficacy as a Protective Factor for Secure Attachments for Low-Income Children

This proposal will examine the relation of mother's self-efficacy, perception of resources, family risk and mother's depression levels to attachment security among 12 to 24-month-old children enrolled in the Lincoln Action Program Early Head Start program in Lincoln, NE. Support for this line of inquiry comes from two previous bodies of literatures. First, substantial work indicates that mothers' psychological adjustment and state of mind can influence the development of attachment relationships with children (Belsky, 1999). Second, more recent work (Teti & Gelfand, 1991; Jackson, 1998) demonstrates that mothers' self-efficacy can moderate the effects of stress on maternal interactions with children, and that self-efficacy is influenced by a mother's perception of available resources and the level of family risk. This proposal hypothesizes that mothers with higher levels of self-efficacy will have more securely attached children, and that mothers who perceive themselves as having adequate levels of financial resources will have higher levels of self-efficacy, which in turn will influence attachment security. The role of family risk in affecting mothers' self-efficacy will also be examined. Further, this study will explore the possibility that children's effectance is directly influenced by maternal self-efficacy, and hypothesizes that mothers with higher levels of self-efficacy will have children with higher levels of effectance. In order to test these hypotheses, 100 mothers will be asked to complete the Dunst Family Resource Scale (Dunst & Leet, 1987), the Pearlin Mastery Scale (Pearlin & Schooler, 1987), and the CES-D (Radloff, 1977), and will be assisted in completing the Attachment Q-Sort (Waters & Deane, 1985) for their 12 to 24-month-old children enrolled in Early Head Start. Levels of family risk, data continually collected by the Early Head Start program, will be used in data analysis and discussion.
Resource Type:
Administration for Children and Families/OPRE Projects
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