The importance of evaluating the association between a poor and inadequate quality of maternal care and the presence of psychopathological traits since infancy is widely recognized, given the impact of maltreatment on both psychological and biological development of the child. The current study has investigated the presence of emotional and behavioural problems and attachment patterns in a sample of 28 1-year-old infants, living in institutions with their mothers, and in a control sample (N = 28). Mothers filled in a questionnaire (Infant Toddler Social and Emotional Assessment) which assesses children behavioural problems and competencies, and participated jointly with their child in the Strange Situation procedure. Institutionalized infants were described as having more internalizing behaviours, less socio-emotional competencies, and established more frequently a disorganized attachment in comparison with infants of the control sample. However, the association between maltreatment and emotional-behavioural problems was not moderated by attachment. In conclusion, the study provides a contribution in understanding the phenomena of maltreatment in a scarcely investigated age range, towards which targeted interventions aimed to promote the quality of mother-child relationship are needed.
Keywords: Maltreatment, behavioural problems, competencies, attachment, infancy
Alessandra Frigerio, Elisa Ceppi, Michela Colasanto, Massimo Molteni, Attachment and emotional-behavioural problems in maltreated infants in "CHILD DEVELOPMENT & DISABILITIES - SAGGI" 3/2009, pp. 117-133, DOI:10.3280/CDD2009-003006