Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology



First Advisor

Janet M. Kulberg


This investigation was conducted to examine the nature of the attachment relationship among children of adolescent mothers using a standard measure known as the Strange Situation procedure. This project compared the attachment relationships of children of adolescent mothers with children of older, non-adolescent adult mothers. Given the paucity of research on attachment among infants of adolescent mothers, the rationale for conducting this study was to supplement an existing weak literature base. The major prediction of this study was that there would be significantly more insecurity among 18-month-old infants of adolescent mothers. The study further attempted to examine this relationship in the context of maternal characteristics such as depression, self esteem, parenting stress, child abuse potential, psychological distress, perception of infant behavior, as well as the caregiving environment. Results indicate that infants of adolescent mothers may resemble normative groups in prevalence of secure attachments to their mothers. However, the mothers in the adolescent group reported lower amounts of self esteem, more parenting stress, more child abuse potential, and provided a lower quality of the home environment than the mothers in the non-adolescent group. These mothers also rated their infants as having a higher activity level than infants born to older mothers. Results are discussed in terms of implications for future research and interventions.



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