Title page for ETD etd-04082004-120041

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Block, Elizabeth Benchea
URN etd-04082004-120041
Title Adult Attachment Styles, Children's Self-Competence, and Children's Cognitive Ability: An Ecological Study
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Human Ecology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
M.E. (Betsy) Garrison Committee Chair
Bonnie Belleau Committee Member
Diane Burts Committee Member
Pamela Monroe Committee Member
James Geer Dean's Representative
  • perceived self-competence
  • children's cognitive ability
  • adult attachment
Date of Defense 2004-03-25
Availability unrestricted
This study investigated children's perceived self-competence and its relationship to the social antecedent of adult attachment and the outcome of children's cognitive ability. Utilizing a predominantly African American sample, 154 mothers, 80 fathers and 205 children were included in this cross-sectional study of second and fourth grade children.

Regression analyses indicated that the exploratory relationship between adult attachment as a predictor of children's self-competence was upheld with both second and fourth grade children of participating mothers and fathers. More specifically, maternal attachment was a significant predictor of second grade children's perceived physical competence, social acceptance, and maternal acceptance. Maternal attachment was a significant predictor of fourth grade children's perceived social acceptance. Paternal attachment was a significant predictor of fourth grade children's perceived athletic competence.

Regression analyses also indicated that second and fourth grade children's perceived self-competence was a significant predictor of cognitive ability as measured by a standardized test of cognitive ability. In addition, fourth grade children's perceived cognitive competence was a significant positive predictor of cognitive ability while perceived social acceptance was a significant negative predictor of cognitive ability.

This exploratory study found relationships between adult attachment and children's perceived self-competence in middle childhood. Further research is necessary to investigate whether these relationships are upheld over time and with larger and more diverse samples.

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