Abstract # 67:

Scheduled for Thursday, June 21, 2007 05:00 PM-07:00 PM: Session 7 (South Main Hall) Poster Presentation

Maternal Maltreatment is Associated with Lower Attachment Security in Infant Rhesus Monkeys (Macaca mulatta)

K. McCormack1,2, J. Warfield3, M. Dozier4, M. Gunnar5, D. Maestripieri2,6, E. Waters7 and M. M. Sanchez2,8
1Spelman College, Atlanta, GA, USA, 2Yerkes National Primate Research Center, 3Institute for Study of Child Development, RWJMS-UMDNJ, 4University of Delaware, 5University of Minnesota, 6University of Chicago, 7State University of New York at Stony Brook, 8Emory University
     Insecure Attachment is associated with poor developmental outcomes in humans. The human Attachment Q-sort (AQS) is a validated metric of Attachment security. Researchers have adapted the human-AQS to evaluate nonhuman primate Attachment security. This study extended that work to captive rhesus monkeys. We investigated the effect of maltreatment on infant Attachment (analyzing differences between 10 abused and 10 non-abused infants) and correlations of this measure with infant behavior. To calculate Attachment security, we applied the AQS methodology to videotapes of Mother-infant pairs recorded when the infants were 3- and 6-months old. Infant behavior was measured from weekly 30-minute focal observations collected across the first six months of life. ANOVA [a=0.05] was used to evaluate whether there were group or age differences in Attachment scores and the scores were correlated with behaviors collected during observations. Although AQS scores did not differ between groups, the strong effect size [h2 =0.19] suggests that abused animals (M=0.20) had lower security scores than non-abused (M=0.35). Fifty percent of the scores for abused animals fell below the controls’ lowest score. Mean scores of 0.35 are characteristic of secure scores in prior studies; mean scores of 0.20 are uncharacteristically low. Month 6 AQS scores were negatively correlated with nervous behavior [r(10)=-0.59, p<0.05], coos [r(10)=-0.59, p<0.05], and tantrums [r(10)=-0.58, p<0.05]. Results suggest that abused infants were less securely attached. Support: NIH-grants 5-P20-MD000215(KM), MH65046(MMS), MH62577(DM); STC Program of the NSF(IBN-9876754,CBN); RR-00165(Yerkes).