1st Edition

Maternal Sensitivity Mary Ainsworth's Enduring Influence on Attachment Theory, Research, and Clinical Applications

    260 Pages
    by Routledge

    260 Pages
    by Routledge

    Mary Ainsworth’s work on the importance of maternal sensitivity for the development of infant attachment security is widely recognized as one of the most revolutionary and influential contributions to developmental psychology in the 20th century. Her longitudinal studies of naturalistic mother-infant interactions in Uganda and Baltimore played a pivotal role in the formulation and acceptance of attachment theory as a new paradigm with implications for developmental, personality, social, and clinical psychology. The chapters in this volume collectively reveal not only the origins and depth of her conceptualizations and the originality of her assessment methods, but also the many different ways in which her ideas about maternal sensitivity continue to inspire innovative research and clinical applications in Western and non-Western cultures. The contributors are leading attachment researchers, including some of Mary Ainsworth’s most influential students and colleagues, who have taken time to step back from their day to day research and reflect on the significance of the work she initiated and the challenges inherent in assessing parental sensitivity during naturalistic interactions in infancy and beyond. This volume makes Ainsworth’s pioneering conceptual and methodological breakthroughs and their continuing research and clinical impact accessible to theorists, researchers and mental health specialists.

    This book was originally published as a special issue of Attachment & Human Development.

    1. Introduction: Maternal sensitivity: observational studies honoring Mary Ainsworth’s 100th year Klaus E. Grossmann, Inge Bretherton, Everett Waters and Karin Grossmann  2. Mary D. Salter Ainsworth: an autobiographical sketch Mary D. Salter Ainsworth  3. Revisiting Mary Ainsworth’s conceptualization and assessments of maternal sensitivity insensitivity Inge Bretherton  4. Mary Ainsworth’s legacy: a systematic review of observational instruments measuring parental sensitivity Judi Mesman and Rosanneke A.G. Emmen  5. Parental synchrony and nurturance as targets in an attachment based intervention: building upon Mary Ainsworth’s insights about mother–infant interaction Kristin Bernard, EB Meade and Mary Dozier  6. Sensitive attunement to infants’ internal states: operationalizing the construct of mind-mindedness Elizabeth Meins  7. The insightfulness assessment: measuring the internal processes underlying maternal sensitivity David Oppenheim and Nina Koren-Karie  8. Parsing the construct of maternal insensitivity: distinct longitudinal pathways associated with early maternal withdrawal Karlen Lyons-Ruth, Jean-Francois Bureau, M. Ann Easterbrooks, Ingrid Obsuth, Kate Hennighausen and Lauriane Vulliez-Coady  9. How does microanalysis of mother–infant communication inform maternal sensitivity and infant attachment? Beatrice Beebe and Miriam Steele  10. One doll fits all: validation of the Leiden Infant Simulator Sensitivity Assessment (LISSA) Alexandra Voorthuis, Dorothée Out, Rixt van der Veen, Ritu Bhandari, Marinus H. van IJzendoorn and Marian J. Bakermans-Kranenburg  11. Maternal anxiety, maternal sensitivity, and attachment Joan Stevenson-Hinde, Rebecca Chicot, Anne Shouldice and Camilla A. Hinde  12. Piecing together the sensitivity construct: ethology and cross-cultural research Germán Posada  13. Individual dispositions as precursors of differences in attachment quality: why maternal sensitivity is nevertheless important Gottfried Spangler  14. Epilogue: reflections on a Special Issue of Attachment & Human Development in Mary Ainsworth’s 100th year Everett Waters, Dean Petters and Christopher Facompre


    Klaus Grossmann, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Psychology at the University of Regensburg, Germany.

    Inge Bretherton, Ph.D., is Professor Emerita in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA.

    Everett Waters, Ph.D., is Professor in the Department of Psychology at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, USA..

    Karin Grossmann, Ph.D., is a Senior Research Scientist (retired) in the Department of Psychology at the University of Regensburg, Germany.

    "Overall this is very good, comprehensive, and thought-provoking text, which will be of significant relevance to researchers into attachment ideas. However, it is one for the committed attachment reader or clinician who wants to develop their theoretical understanding of child development and attachment." - Mark Wylie, Hill House School, The Psychologist