Indiscriminate friendliness in maltreated children: the importance of emotional availability

Love, Leighanne (2014) Indiscriminate friendliness in maltreated children: the importance of emotional availability. D Clin Psy thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Background: Indiscriminate friendliness (IF) refers to a lack of reticence with unfamiliar adults and has been well documented in maltreated children. This risky behaviour is distinct from attachment insecurity and has been found to persist when care-giving quality improves. There is a lack of consistency in the literature regarding the importance of care-giving following adoption. Some studies suggest that care-giving quality is not related to IF, whilst others have suggested that the emotional availability of carers is predictive. This study aimed to establish if there is a relationship between EA and IF in a group of previously maltreated infants.
Method: In a cross-sectional design, a subsample of infant-carer dyads (n = 55), that were recruited as part of an on-going RCT (Pritchett et al, 2013), were observed. Videos of meal and playtime activities were analysed using The EA Scales (Biringen, 1998). IF was measured, as part of the RCT, using a semi-structured interview. This tool also identifies children that in addition to IF, have no preferred attachment figure: IF (NA). Univariate correlation analyses and regression analyses were used to explore relationships between variables.
Results: This study found that child emotional availability predicted indiscriminate friendliness, even when other associated factors (age and carer non-intrusiveness) were controlled for. A composite Carer EA score was not related to IF, but carer non-intrusiveness was significantly associated with IF.
Conclusions: Child emotional availability is uniquely associated with indiscriminate friendliness in maltreated children. A specific care-giving factor (non-intrusiveness) was associated with indiscriminate friendliness. It is suggested that carer-child interactions are related to indiscriminate friendliness in maltreated children and may represent a useful target for intervention. Therefore, future research may wish to explore the amelioration of indiscriminate friendliness through an intervention focusing on the carer-child relationship.

Item Type: Thesis (D Clin Psy)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Indiscriminate friendliness, Reactive Attachment Disorder, emotional availability
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > Mental Health and Wellbeing
Supervisor's Name: Minnis, Dr Helen and O'Connor, Dr Suzy
Date of Award: 2014
Depositing User: Ms Leighanne Love
Unique ID: glathesis:2014-5617
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 06 Nov 2014 14:59
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2014 15:01

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