Infant–mother and infant–sibling attachment in Zambia

Haatembo Mooya*, Francis Sichimba, Marian Bakermans-Kranenburg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This study, the first in Zambia using the Strange Situation Procedure (SSP) to observe attachment relationships and the “very first” observational study of infant–sibling attachment, examined patterns of infant–mother and infant–sibling attachment, and tested their association. We included siblings who were substantially involved in caregiving activities with their younger siblings. We hypothesized that infants would develop attachment relationships to both mothers and siblings; the majority of infants would be classified as securely attached to both caregivers, and infant–mother and infant–sibling attachment would be unrelated. The sample included 88 low-income families in Lusaka, Zambia (average of 3.5 children; SD = 1.5). The SSP distributions (infant–mother) were 59% secure, 24% avoidant and 17% resistant, and 46% secure, 20% avoidant, 5% resistant and 29% disorganized for three- and four-way classifications, respectively. The infant–sibling classifications were 42% secure, 23% avoidant and 35% resistant, and 35% secure, 23% avoidant, 9% resistant and 33% disorganized for three- and four-way classifications, respectively. Infant–mother and infant–sibling attachment relationships were not associated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)618-635
Number of pages18
JournalAttachment and Human Development
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Africa
  • Attachment
  • culture
  • parenting
  • siblings


Dive into the research topics of 'Infant–mother and infant–sibling attachment in Zambia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this