- The relation between insecure attachment and child anxiety: a meta-analytic review
- Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology
- Volume | Issue number
- 40 | 4
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Research Institute of Child Development and Education (RICDE)
Attachment theory suggests that children's attachment insecurity plays a key role in the development of anxiety. In the present study we evaluated the empirical evidence for the link between insecure attachment and anxiety from early childhood to adolescence. A meta-analysis of 46 studies, from 1984 to 2010, including 8,907 children, was conducted. The results show an overall effect size of r = .30, indicating that attachment is moderately related to anxiety. Moderator analyses indicated that ambivalent attachment showed the strongest association with anxiety. Further, the relation was stronger during adolescence, when attachment and anxiety were measured through questionnaires, when the informant was the child, when attachment was measured as internal working model, in cross-sectional studies, and in studies conducted in Europe. No difference was found between studies that measured anxiety as symptoms or as a disorder, and when different kinds of anxiety were considered.
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