Attachment style and socio-emotional behaviour in young children.
Attachment research overlaps with many fields within psychology and is a highly under researched topic in South Africa. This study examined the relationship between the attachment style of Grade 1 learners and their socio-emotional behaviour. The following hypothesis was examined: Grade 1 learners who are securely attached display more age-appropriate socio-emotional behaviors than their counterparts who are not securely attached. The aims of the research were to: i.) describe mothers' perceptions of their children's attachment styles; ii.) investigate children's perceptions of their relationship with their primary caregiver and, iii.) describe the nature of the relationship between attachment style and certain aspects of socio-emotional behaviour in young children. In order to meet the above aims, the researcher constructed the Childhood Attachment Style Questionnaire (CASQ). In addition to the CASQ, the Preliminary Screening Checklist (PSCL), the Child Behaviour Scale (CBS) and the Kinetic Family Drawing test (KFD) were used to achieve the aims of the study. The sample consisted of 100 subjects who had met the criteria for participation in the study. Statistical and qualitative analyses of the data partially confirmed the hypothesis that secure Grade 1 learners were more likely to display age-appropriate socio-emotional behaviour as opposed to their insecure counterparts. Based on the findings of the study, various recommendations are made which have widespread relevance to the issues of behaviour problems, custody disputes and HIV/AIDS.