Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


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Committee Chair

German Posada


The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that there is a relation between preschool children's forming attachment representations and the organization of their secure base behavior. Subjects were recruited from Greater Lafayette, Indiana. Participants were 50 children 36 to 67 months of age. Each child was presented an attachment story completion task to make up stories regarding attachment events. In addition, information about their secure base behavior was collected through live observation at home and park. Attachment representations were assessed on the extent of scriptedness and elaboration of the secure base phenomenon shown in the stories. A correlational model was used to examine the relationship between secure base behavior and cognitive aspects of attachment representations. It was hypothesized that more secure children will display more scripted and elaborated attachment representations. In addition, it was suggested that specific domains of the secure base phenomenon such as smooth interactions with mother and other adults, proximity and physical contact with the mother will also be positively correlated with scriptedness and content elaboration. A modest and significant correlation was found between secure base behavior and scriptedness but not with content elaboration. Smooth interaction with mother and with other adults seemed to be important for the organization of the secure base scripts but not for elaboration. Age of the child was positively related with scriptedness. Significant differences between boys and girls were found being girls more scripted in their stories than boys. It seemed that some contextual factors such as birth order position or the specific setting of assessment may be accounting for differences in secure base behavior scores. Both contextual and methodological issues were discussed. Limitations of the study and implications for future research were also included.