ABSTRACT

Attachment theory (Bowlby, 1969/1982) highlights the importance of the quality of parent-child relationships and its implications for children's social and personality development across the lifespan. Central to this argument is the notion that the quality of attachment relationships emerges from affective exchanges, action responses, and interaction patterns that characterise the caregiver-child relationship. Secure attachment relationships provide children with a secure base from which to explore the environment, a safe haven in times ofdistress or uncertainty, and are a source ofjoy under ordinary conditions (Cassidy, 2008; Waters & Cummings, 2000). In contrast, insecure attachment relationships often evoke feelings of fear, anxiety, uncertainty, and potentially even threat in close relationships (Cassidy, 1994; Thompson, 1994). Bowlby (1979) emphasised the role of emotion in the development ofattachment relationships and suggested that different attachment histories form the basis ofqualitatively distinct patterns of emotional response and self-regulation (see also Thompson & Meyer, 2007) . Indeed, securely attached children have been shown to display more positive affect (Matas, Arend, & Sroufe, 1978), have a better understanding of emotional events, and talk more openly about emotions with their caregivers (Etzion-Carasso &

references in parent-child

Oppenheim, 2000; Thompson, 2000) than do insecurely attached children. As such, attachment relationships are considered important dyadic contexts for regulating emotional tension, embracing positive experiences, and are central in the hedonic attributes of individuals (e.g. Hofer, 1994; Mikulincer & Shaver, 2007; Nachmias, Gunnar, Mangelsdorf, Parritz, & Buss, 1996).