The relationship of ego-resiliency to a representational measure of attachment

Johnson, Laurel, author
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Research has shown that a secure attachment in infancy is related to high ego-resiliency ratings in preschool (Sroufe, 1983). In this study I asked the question whether a concurrent representational measure of attachment security was similarly related to preschoolers' ego-resiliency ratings. Toward this end, children's responses to story beginnings designed to elicit attachment issues were compared to ego-resiliency ratings by parents. Thirty children ranging in age from 3.5 to 5.5 years of age, and their parents were recruited from local preschools. The measure of attachment quality was based on the degree of parental supportiveness and non-supportiveness enacted by the children using small family figures. The ego-resiliency scores were obtained through the California Child Q-Sort (Block, 1978) given to both parents. It was hypothesized that children who depicted the story parents in highly supportive roles would have a high ego resiliency rating, and that low-supportiveness scores derived from the story responses would correlate with low ego-resiliency ratings. Whereas the basic hypothesis of this study was not supported, some of the results were interesting. The high frequency of appropriate responses indicated that the story beginnings did elicit relevant thoughts about attachment issues, although it is not clear whether the story responses reflect children's actual attachment experiences. A gender by age analysis of variance was performed on the story and ego-resiliency scores. Although age effects were not significant, gender effects did reach significance, with girls scoring higher in supportiveness and lower on ego-resiliency than boys. This could be due to idiosyncrasies of the sample or the possibility that girls are socialized to respond in a more nurturing and less independent fashion than boys. It is suggested that this study be replicated using a revised version of the story task and with teacher ratings of ego-resiliency.
1986 Fall.
Includes bibliographical references (pages [37]-40).
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Attachment behavior
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