A Longitudinal Study on Attachment Insecurity and Chronic Stress: The Role of Self-regulation

Jana Runze, Carolina de Weerth, Roseriet Beijers

Research output: Contribution to ConferencePosterAcademic


Previous research found a relation between attachment insecurity and negative behavioural outcomes as well as physiological processes. This study further investigated these relations by examining whether insecure attachment is linked to markers of chronic stress, e.g. telomere length and cortisol in hair, and whether self-regulation skills play a moderating or mediating role in this relation. In an ongoing longitudinal study on healthy children (N=193), attachment style was measured by the Strange Situation Procedure at age 1, and self-regulations skills were assessed by behavioural tests at age 2.5 years and age 6 years. Hair cortisol and telomere length were assessed at age 10. Structural equation models showed that – contrary to expectations - securely attached children had significantly shorter telomeres compared to insecurely attached children. Attachment insecurity was not significantly associated to hair cortisol concentrations. Self-regulation skills did not mediate the association between attachment style and telomere length or hair cortisol. A model with self-regulation skills as moderator could not be fitted. Future research should attempt to replicate these findings and study possible mechanisms underlying the link between secure attachment style and shorter telomere length.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2019
EventDutch Neuroscience Meeting - Lunteren, Netherlands
Duration: 20 Jun 201921 Jun 2019


ConferenceDutch Neuroscience Meeting
Internet address


  • Telomeres
  • hair cortisol
  • Inhibitory control
  • Infancy
  • Development
  • Behaviour


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