Associations Between Early Childhood Attachment and Maternal Depression and Anxiety Symptoms: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Badovinac, Shaylea Danica
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The current study aimed to systematically review and meta-analyze concurrent and longitudinal associations between maternal depression and anxiety symptoms and mother-child attachment during early childhood (aged 2 to 7 years) as assessed using the coding systems by Cassidy and Marvin (1992) and Main and Cassidy (1988). The review was pre-registered with PROSPERO and followed PRISMA guidelines. A total of 7,969 records were screened and 20 articles were deemed as eligible for inclusion in the review. Studies were reviewed using qualitative synthesis techniques and meta-analysis. Results indicated that higher levels of maternal depressive symptoms were consistently associated with disorganized/controlling child attachment behaviours. No significant association was found between maternal anxiety symptoms and child attachment. These results suggest that maternal depressive symptoms may confer risk for disorganized/controlling attachment during early childhood. Implications for research and clinical practice are discussed.