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Revisiting Mary Ainsworth's conceptualization and assessments of maternal sensitivity-insensitivity

, : Revisiting Mary Ainsworth's conceptualization and assessments of maternal sensitivity-insensitivity. Attachment & Human Development 15(5-6): 460-484

This paper describes the evolution of Ainsworth's construct of maternal sensitivity-insensitivity to infant signals from its beginnings in her research in Uganda to its explicit emergence in the findings from the Baltimore study. It provides an analysis of her bipolar Maternal Care Scales (Sensivity-Insensitivity, Cooperation-Interference, Acceptance-Rejection, and Accessibility-Ignoring and Neglecting) and associated findings from the Baltimore study, including studies of specific maternal and infant interactive behaviors also rooted in the sensitivity construct. In addition, the four Maternal Care ratings of observed maternal behavior in the home environment are considered in relation to Strange Situation subgroups and Ainsworth's home classifications of infant attachment and exploratory behavior. A brief comparison of Ainworth's with Bowlby's contributions follows. The paper ends with a discussion of Ainsworth's approach to science.


PMID: 24299130

DOI: 10.1080/14616734.2013.835128

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