Abstract # 104:

Scheduled for Sunday, September 20, 2009 10:15 AM-10:25 AM: Session 9 (Del Mar Room) Oral Presentation


K. McCormack1,2,3, J. Warfield4,5, M. Dozier6, M. R. Gunnar7, D. Maestripieri8, E. Waters9 and M. M. Sanchez2,3
1Spelman College, Atlanta, GA, USA, 2Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University, 3Center for Behavioral Neuroscience, 4Institute for Study of Child Development, RWJMS-UMDNJ, 5Columbia University, 6University of Delaware, 7University of Minnesota, 8University of Chicago, 9State University of New York at Stony Brook
     Evidence from many species demonstrates that the quality of the infant-mother relationship is crucial for understanding offspring development. The Attachment Q-sort is a validated metric for assessing the quality of this relationship, and has been adapted for use with captive Japanese monkeys and free-ranging rhesus monkeys (AQS-RM). We modified the AQS-RM for use with captive rhesus monkeys (AQS-CRM), and correlated this qualitative measure of infant attachment security with discrete behaviors of the mother-infant pairs. We also assessed whether the AQS-CRM scores differed among 10 maternally abused and 10 non-abused infants. Focal observations were collected across the first six months of life, and two observers coded eighty 30-min videotapes to calculate AQS-CRM scores at months 3 and 6. Pearson correlations and independent t-tests were applied with an alpha level of 0.05. AQS-CRM scores were significantly correlated with infant tantrums [r=-0.47], infant contact breaks from mother [r=0.55], mother-infant contact duration [r=0.54], and maternal rejections [r=-0.69]. At month 6, abused infants had significantly lower attachment scores [M=0.17] than non-abused infants [M=0.46]. These results indicate that the AQS-CRM provides a valid measure of attachment security in captive rhesus macaque infants. This measure is also sensitive enough to detect differences in infant-mother security between abused and non-abused infants, and may be useful for predicting developmental outcomes.