The role of parenting, attachment, and temperamental fearfulness in the prediction of compliance in toddler girls

Ingrid L. Van Der Mark, Marian J. Bakermans-Kranenburg, Marinus H. Van Ijzendoorn*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


The development, antecedents, and concomitants of committed compliance in the second year of life were investigated, with a special emphasis on the influences of parental discipline and sensitivity, attachment security, and temperamental fearfulness. At 16 and at 22 months, 125 first-born girls from middle-class families were observed in their homes and in the laboratory. Committed compliance was assessed in a clean-up task ('do' task), and in a task in which the children were asked to refrain from touching attractive toys ('don't' task). Temperamental fearfulness was observed when the children were confronted with seven somewhat scary items, such as a stethoscope and a rubber bird of prey. Attachment security was assessed with the Strange Situation procedure, and parental discipline and sensitivity measures were derived from home and lab observations in problem-solving and limit-setting situations. Maternal sensitivity during a puzzle task was related to more compliance of the child to her prohibitions, and maternal intrusiveness was associated with less compliance to maternal requests. Committed compliance was associated with concurrent parenting, attachment, and temperament. Controlling for concurrent parenting, attachment, and temperament, we did not find any significant associations between antecedent parenting and later compliance. Our data failed to support Kochanska's (1995, 1997) model of the impact of antecedent socialization and temperament on emergent morality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)361-378
Number of pages18
JournalBritish Journal of Developmental Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2002
Externally publishedYes


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