Attachment theory suggests that the predisposition to anxiety can be exacerbated or alleviated by the type of attachment between mother and child (Manassis and Bradley 1994). Insecure mother-infant attachment has been shown to specifically predict separation anxiety in children. In a prospective, longitudinal study of 99 mother-child dyads (beginning when the child was 1 month old), attachment pattern, maternal sensitivity, and maternal separation anxiety were evaluated (Dallaire and Weinraub 2005). Insecurely attached children exhibited significantly more symptoms of SAD at age 6 years when compared to securely attached children. Regression analysis demonstrated that mother-child attachment pattern and maternal sensitivity each contributed uniquely to the prediction of children's separation anxiety at 6 years but that maternal separation anxiety did not.

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