Maternal Attachment and Children's Emotional and Cognitive Competences

Tatjana Stefanović-Stanojević, Milica Tošić-Radev, Dejana Velikić


The goal of the study was to examine the relation between dimensions which lie in the basis of maternal attachment (anxiety and avoidance) and the development of children's competences in the emotional domain (reflective functioning, mixed emotions understanding, sequential emotion understanding) and cognitive development (verbal comprehension, logic, graphomotor skills and understanding quantities).
For this purpose, 60 children and their mothers were tested. Revised Adult Attachment Scale (RAAS; Collins, 1996), was used to assess the two attachment dimensions. The Affect Task (Steele, Steele, & Fonagy, 1994) contains several subscales, including those intended to assess children's reflective functioning, mixed emotions understanding and sequential emotion understanding. Children's cognitive competences were assessed through their success on the Readiness for Elementary School Test (POŠ; Tolčić, 1986).
Results indicate significant negative correlations between dimensions of maternal attachment and emotional competences. Also, avoidance is a significant predictor of mixed emotions understanding and sequential emotion understanding. Furthermore, anxiety negatively correlates with the success of children in logic, and avoidance is in a negative correlation, and is also a significant predictor of children's verbal comprehension from the cognitive domain. Also, better emotional competences of the child, especially reflective functioning, predict better cognitive competences.
Our results emphasize the role of the father figure, more precisely the education of the father, in prediction of children's success in verbal comprehension and logic.
It is justified to conclude that the obtained results indicate that the phenomena of attachment, emotional, and cognitive competences are essentially interrelated aspects of psychological life.


dimensions of attachment; cognitive and emotional competences; reflective functioning

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