Association of home visitors' and mothers' attachment style with family engagement

Elizabeth McFarlane, Lori Burrell, Loretta Fuddy, Darius Tandon, D. Christian Derauf, Philip Leaf, Anne Duggan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Family engagement in home visiting (HV) is challenging. This study related attachment security of home visitors (n548) and mothers (n5328) to family engagement in an HV program to prevent child maltreatment. Attachment security was assessed by using the Attachment Style Questionnaire to measure attachment anxiety and attachment avoidance. Family engagement was defined as receipt of a high dose of visits and home visitor response to intimate partner violence (IPV) and poor maternal mental health as measured via record review and by maternal report of trust in the home visitor. Home visitors had lower attachment anxiety and avoidance than mothers. Families were likely to receive a high dose of services if either the mother or home visitor was high on attachment anxiety. Home visitors high on attachment anxiety were less likely to respond to IPV and poor maternal mental health; home visitors high on attachment avoidance were more likely to respond to these issues. Mothers with high attachment anxiety were less trusting of highly anxious home visitors and more trusting of avoidant home visitors. HV programs should consider the influence of both home visitor and maternal attachment style on family engagement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)541-556
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of community psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 1 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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