Relations among maternal sensitivity in early infancy and infants' attachment security at 12 months

The quality of the mother-infant relationship early in infancy forms a foundation for infants’ subsequent social and emotional development. In particular, mothers’ sensitive responses to behavioural cues helps their infants develop a sense of self and other and helps them regulate their emotions. Attachment—or the bond between infants and their caregivers—is a developmental achievement in the first year of life that is essential for healthy physical and psychological growth. Studies have shown that insecurely-attached infants are at risk for a range of negative developmental outcomes. Nancy Mcquaid is working to identify ways in which mothers interact with their infants that facilitate, or inhibit healthy social and emotional development. Nancy’s research will contribute to our understanding of healthy infant development and will help develop means of intervention for infants who are at risk for developmental emotional and interactive disturbances, such as infants of mothers with postpartum depression and low birth weight infants.