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Child Development Research
Volume 2011, Article ID 267186, 12 pages
Research Article

Rearing Styles, Parents' Attachment Mental State,and Children's Social Abilities: The Link to Peer Acceptance

1Department of Social Sciences, University of Rome “Sapienza”, Corso Italia, 00198 Rome, Italy
2Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies, CNR, 00185Rome, Italy
3Department of Psychology, Federal University of Pernambuco, 50670-901Recife, CEP, Brazil

Received 4 November 2010; Accepted 23 March 2011

Academic Editor: Masha Gartstein

Copyright © 2011 Grazia Attili et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This paper examines the discriminant effect of mothers' and fathers' attachment working models, the quality of their relationships in everyday settings, and children's social abilities on children's peer acceptance. Participants were thirty-four 7–9 year olds, their mothers, and fathers. Interactions were observed at home and coded on global measures of positive, negative, controlling, disconfirming, correcting behaviors, and neutral conversation. Parents' IWM were assessed by the AAI. Children's peer acceptance and behavioral orientations as a measure of a child's social competence at school were assessed by sociometric techniques. By using both traditional statistical analyses and a multidimensional scaling approach (MDS), in terms of “similarity structure analysis (SSA)” and the “external variables as points technique,” it emerged that children's lack of success among peers associated with social behaviors which were linked to parents' rejecting/neglecting and directive interactive styles, mainly to negative, disconfirming, and a few positive interactions. These parenting styles were significantly affected by adults' insecure IWM.