In this paper, we examine concurrent and prospective links between attachment and the Five-Factor Model (FFM) of personality from middle childhood to young adulthood (n = 66). At age 8.5 years, attachment was measured with the Separation Anxiety Test and at 21 years with the Adult Attachment Interview, whereas the personality dimensions were assessed with questionnaires at both time points. The results showed that attachment and personality dimensions are meaningfully related, concurrently and longitudinally. Attachment security in middle childhood was positively related to extraversion and openness, both concurrently and prospectively. Unresolved/disorganized (U/d) attachment was negatively related to conscientiousness and positively related to openness in young adulthood. U/d attachment showed a unique contribution to openness above the observed temporal stability of openness. As attachment security was also associated with openness, the duality of this factor is discussed together with other theoretical considerations regarding attachment theory in relation to the FFM.
Maternal intellectual disability (ID) is regarded a risk factor in child development, but there is no scientific evidence on maternal ID in relation to children's attachment. Using a matched comparison design, a small group (n = 23) of mothers diagnosed with ID was studied to help fill this gap. Besides maternal ID, we examined the role of abuse/trauma/maltreatment (ATM) in the mothers' biographies, along with potential confounds. Comparison group mothers (n = 25) had normal variations in intelligence and matched mothers with ID on residential area, income, child age, and sex. History of maternal ATM was assessed using a semi-structured interview and was found to be significantly more likely in the ID group mothers' experience than the comparison group mothers. Children's (M age = 77 months) attachment representations were assessed with the Separation Anxiety Test. Among children of mothers with ID, a substantial minority (35%) had a secure and the vast majority (>80%) an organized attachment representation. Mothers with ID who had suffered elevated ATM were significantly more likely to have children who were scored high on disorganization and insecurity. We discuss possible implications of our findings for societal considerations regarding parenting and child attachment in the context of parental ID status.