Parenting in infancy and self-regulation in preschool: an investigation of the role of attachment history

R. S. Birmingham, K. L. Bub, B. E. Vaughn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Parenting and attachment are critical in the emergence of self-regulation (SR) in preschool. However, most studies use general indexes of parenting quality, failing to explore the unique contributions of sensitivity and home quality to SR. Further, the nature of the interplay between parenting and attachment history is not well understood. Using a sample of 938 children from The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development, a series of structural equation models were fit to determine whether sensitivity and home quality concurrently predicted SR at 54 months, and whether attachment mediated or moderated these pathways. Results suggest that both sensitivity and home quality uniquely predict SR. Further, these early parenting variables were each indirectly associated with SR through children’s attachment history. That is, higher levels of sensitivity and home quality predicted secure attachment history, which, along with parenting, predicted more advanced SR skills at 54 months. No moderated pathways emerged, suggesting that attachment history may be best conceptualized as a mediating mechanism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-129
Number of pages23
JournalAttachment and Human Development
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 4 2017


  • Attachment
  • home quality
  • parenting
  • self-regulation
  • sensitivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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