The current article presents results from a twin study of genetic and environmental components of maternal sensitivity and infant attachment and their association. The sample consisted of 136 twin pairs from 2 sites: Leiden, the Netherlands, and London, UK. Maternal sensitivity was assessed in the home at 9-10 months, and infant attachment security was observed in the laboratory at 12 months. The study yielded little evidence that genetic factors are involved in variations between twins in maternal sensitivity ratings but did find that shared variance in maternal sensitivity was able to account for some of the similarity between twins in attachment security. Weak nonshared associations between sensitivity and attachment appeared to suppress the magnitude of the correlation between attachment and sensitivity in twin children. The results could indicate that the attachment security of one twin may depend on the relationship the parent has with the other twin. The results are brought to bear on the validity of attachment theory as a theory of primarily shared environmental effects in children's development and the continuing challenge posed to attachment theory by within-family differences in socioemotional processes. PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved.
Fearon, R. M., van IJzendoorn, M. H., Fonagy, P., Bakermans-Kranenburg, M. J., Schuengel, C., & Bokhorst, C. L. (2006). In search of shared and non-shared influences on infant attachment: A behavior-genetic study of the association between sensitivity and attachment. Developmental Psychology, 42, 1026-1040. https://doi.org/10.1037/0012-1622.214.171.1246