Document Type



Despite a plethora of research on parenting and infant attachment, much less is known about the contributions of parenting to preschool attachment, particularly within different racial groups. This study seeks to build on the extant literature by evaluating whether similar associations between parenting and attachment can be observed in African American and Caucasian families, and whether race moderates them. Seventy-four primary caregivers and their preschool children (51% African American, 49% Caucasian, 46% male) from similar urban, low income backgrounds participated in two visits four weeks apart when children were between four and five years of age. Attachment was scored from videotapes of the Strange Situation paradigm using the preschool classification system developed by Cassidy, Marvin, and the MacArthur Working Group. Parenting was assessed using a multi-method, multi-context approach: in the child’s home, in the laboratory, and via parent-report. Seventy-three percent of the children were classified as securely attached. Warm, responsive parenting behavior (but not race) predicted attachment. Although parents of African American and Caucasian children demonstrated some significant differences in parenting behaviors, race did not moderate the relationship between parenting and child attachment. These findings highlight the direct role that parenting plays over and above race in determining attachment security during the preschool period.


Child Psychology | Psychiatry and Psychology


This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in the Journal of Family Psychology. This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA journal; it is not the copy of record. This version has been formatted for archiving; a definitive version was subsequently published in Journal of Family Psychology, 27(4). August 2013. pp. 629-638. Available online at:

journal_of_family_psychology.2013.v27.n4.unformatted.docx (115 kB)
Unformatted original accepted author manuscript