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Attachment disorganisation and poor maternal discipline in early childhood: independent contributions to symptoms of conduct problems
Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties  (IF),  Pub Date : 2021-10-15, DOI: 10.1080/13632752.2021.1984192
Angeliki Kallitsoglou, Vasiliki Repana


Conduct problems (CP) are common behaviour difficulties in young children. Poor parenting and caregiver-child attachment relationships are important risk factors of CP, but more research is required to understand their concurrent contribution to CP in the early childhood years. We examined the association of maternal-reported conduct problems (CP) (Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire) with maternal-reported harsh and inconsistent discipline (Preschool-Alabama Parenting Questionnaire) and children’s representations of attachment (Manchester Attachment Story Task) in a sample of children between 4 and 6 years old (n = 66). Correlation analysis showed that CP were associated with attachment insecurity, high levels of attachment disorganisation, and maternal harsh and inconsistent discipline. Regression analysis showed that disorganisation and inconsistent discipline explained unique variance in CP ratings even after controlling for the effects of confounding variables. The findings suggest that attachment disorganisation and aspects of poor maternal discipline in early childhood reflect parallel processes with unique contributions to CP.