Parasympathetic and sympathetic responses to the strange situation in infants and mothers from avoidant and securely attached dyads

Ashley L. Hill-Soderlund, W. Roger Mills-Koonce, Cathi Propper, Susan D. Calkins, Douglas A. Granger, Ginger A. Moore, Jean Louis Gariepy, Martha J. Cox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

109 Scopus citations

Abstract

Vagal reactivity and salivary α-amylase (sAA) were assessed in infants (M age = 13.55 months) and their mothers during the Strange Situation Paradigm (SSP) to investigate differences in physiological responses in a sample of insecure-avoidant and securely-attached dyads (N = 132). Infants classified as insecure-avoidant had significantly higher vagal withdrawal during the SSP and higher sAA overall, suggesting that the avoidant attachment pattern is associated with a greater allostatic load. During separation episodes of the SSP all mothers showed significant vagal withdrawal, suggesting greater attempts at regulation. During the last reunion, typically the most stressful episode for infants, mothers of secure infants showed greater vagal withdrawal than mothers of insecure-avoidant infants, suggesting greater attempts by these mothers at interactive repair. Results for mothers and infants supported the allostatic load theory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)361-376
Number of pages16
JournalDevelopmental psychobiology
Volume50
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2008

Keywords

  • Attachment
  • Biobehavioral functioning
  • Salivary alpha-amylase
  • Stress functioning
  • Vagal reactivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Developmental Biology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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    Hill-Soderlund, A. L., Mills-Koonce, W. R., Propper, C., Calkins, S. D., Granger, D. A., Moore, G. A., Gariepy, J. L., & Cox, M. J. (2008). Parasympathetic and sympathetic responses to the strange situation in infants and mothers from avoidant and securely attached dyads. Developmental psychobiology, 50(4), 361-376. https://doi.org/10.1002/dev.20302