Note:  Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Professor Lieselotte Ahnert, Department of Developmental Psychology, University of Vienna / Faculty of Psychology, Liebiggasse 5, 1010 Vienna, Austria; E-mail: [email protected]
Abstract: The present study aimed to explore social origins of peer interactions from the perspective of attachment theory. After five months of experience in child care, 34 infants averaging 15 months of age were videotaped with their peers during free play in the group without care providers involved. Four types of interactional tendencies, i.e. contact seeking, possession conflicts, object exchanges, and play were registered for the target infant as being most prevalent in interpersonal activities with peers. Furthermore, the security of infants' attachments to their mothers was assessed prior to child-care entry and those to primary care providers, five months later. Associations of infants’ attachments and infants' interactional tendencies were stronger for infant-care provider attachments than for infant-mother attachments. Especially long play times with a few peers were typical for infants with secure attachments to care providers, whereas lower rates of possession conflicts and object exchanges were found to be linked to infants' attachment security to their mothers.
Keywords: attachment security, contact seeking, possession conflicts, object changes, play