Single Factor Model

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Pages: 4

The early experience foundation model states that inconsistent mothers generate insecure attachment that reflects a weak foundation and poses a risk for socio-emotional competence in the child. In our culture, it is commonly believed that insensitive mothering puts her child at risk, which will persist throughout the child’s life. This analysis describes and critiques the attachment risk model. The attachment risk model is a single factor and main effect model, which states that maternal sensitivity is causally responsible for generating either a strong or weak foundation in her child’s socio-emotional development. The single factor is maternal insensitivity during the child’s critical period which occurs from zero to twenty-four months, …show more content…
The single factor claim is problematic because it places an unreasonable amount of emphasis on the role of maternal sensitivity in influencing the child’s immediate and long-term outcomes, as opposed to other factors that influence a child’s development. There is a small effect size between maternal sensitivity and secure attachment, meaning that maternal sensitivity is not as powerful as the model suggests. Researchers found that marital quality is a more powerful predictor in mother-infant attachment than maternal sensitivity, and they did not find a significant association between maternal sensitivity and secure attachment.
One core problem is that correlation does not signify causation. The problem is illustrated in the model’s assumption that insensitive mothering is causally responsible for her child’s socio-emotional incompetency, but causality has not yet been established. Critics argue that this relationship is not causal because it does not account for confounding variables, such as stressful marriages threatening the child’s sense of emotional security and hindering the child’s emotional competence. Therefore marital distress leading to a child’s weak foundation could predict socio-emotional
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The model states that the stress from maternal insensitivity causes future socio-emotional problems, but critics argue that the child’s genetics determines whether or not the child will be sensitive to the stressful effects of insensitive mothering. A stress-sensitive child is at greater risk for problems if the same child experiences insensitive mothering, but a child in the same situation who is not stress sensitive is not at risk for developing problems, which shows that the effects of maternal insensitivity do not yield a main