Attachment and bookreading patterns: A study of mothers, fathers, and their toddlers

Adriana G. Bus, Jay Belsky, Marinus H. Van Ijzendoorn, Keith Crnic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


This study, involving 138 families rearing firstborn sons, extends work on bookreading by relating quality of parent-child interactive exchange during bookreading to contemporaneous and antecedent assessments of infant-parent attachment security. One parent and the child were observed when children were 12, 13, 18, and 20 months. At the first and third visit, infant-mother attachment security was assessed, with infant-father attachment security being assessed at the second and fourth visit. Following the assessment of attachment security at 18 and 20 months, parent and child were videotaped in a bookreading session. At 18 and 20 months, children responded to the pictures in a book by pointing and labelling, and their parents tried to initiate these reactions by following predictable routines. In contrast to other mothers, insecure-avoidant mothers were more inclined to read the verbal text and less inclined to initiate interactions around the pictures. Insecure-avoidant children were less inclined to respond to the book and were more distracted. In insecure-resistant dyads, overcontrolling and overstimulating behavior by the mother appeared to covary with ambivalence on the part of the children. The results do not support a similar pattern for the father-child dyads. Implications for family literacy programs are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-98
Number of pages18
JournalEarly Childhood Research Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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