Early adverse caregiving experiences constitute an important risk factor for the development of disorganized attachment in infancy, especially extreme insensitivity and frightening behavior associated with an unresolved loss or trauma. Using existing measures for frightening parenting and disrupted communication, we developed a new measure assessing Disconnected and extremely Insensitive Parenting (DIP), in order to investigate the unique contribution of disconnected and extremely insensitive parenting behaviors to infant disorganization. Maternal behavior was assessed during a laboratory session in a low-risk sample of 202 mothers and their infants. Construct and discriminant validity of the DIP was established for both types of parental behavior. Disconnected parental behavior predicted infant disorganization but not organized attachment security, whereas extreme insensitivity was marginally related to organized attachment insecurity in boys but not to attachment disorganization.
- Disorganized attachment
- Extreme insensitivity