Early childhood attachment stability and change: a meta-analysis
journal contributionposted on 2022-01-27, 01:40 authored by Jessica OpieJessica Opie, Jennifer McIntoshJennifer McIntosh, TB Esler, R Duschinsky, C George, A Schore, EJ Kothe, ES Tan, CJ Greenwood, CA Olsson
Examining degrees of stability in attachment throughout early childhood is important for understanding developmental pathways and for informing intervention. Updating and building upon all prior meta-analyses, this study aimed to determine levels of stability in all forms of attachment classifications across early childhood. Attachment stability was assessed between three developmental epochs within early childhood: infancy, toddlerhood, and preschool/early school. To ensure data homogeneity, only studies that assessed attachment with methods based on the strange situation procedure were included. Results indicate moderate levels of stability at both the four-way (secure, avoidant, resistant, and disorganised; κ = 0.23) and secure/insecure (r = 0.28) levels of assessment. Meta-regression analysis indicated security to be the most stable attachment organisation. This study also found evidence for publication bias, highlighting a preference for the publication of significant findings.