Parental attachment anxiety: Associations with allostatic load in mothers of 1-year-olds

Kharah M. Ross, Heidi S. Kane, Christine Guardino, Christine Dunkel Schetter

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Growing evidence indicates that individual differences in attachment style are related to health outcomes. The present study extends this literature by examining whether attachment anxiety in both mothers and fathers predicts maternal health the year following the birth of a child in a sample of 698 low-income, racially diverse couples. We hypothesized that maternal perceptions of partner responsiveness would mediate these associations. Maternal allostatic load, a measure of cumulative wear-and-tear on the body due to stress, was used as an indicator of maternal health. Maternal biomarkers (blood pressure, adiposity, blood metabolites, inflammation, and diurnal cortisol) were scored using clinical or top-quartile cutoffs to compute an allostatic load index. Attachment anxiety and perceived partner responsiveness were assessed in interviews. Path models were used to test indirect associations between mother and father attachment anxiety and maternal allostatic load through perceived partner responsiveness. We found that higher mother and father attachment anxiety were each independently and indirectly associated with higher maternal allostatic load through lower maternal perceptions of partner responsiveness. These findings highlight the need to consider both relationship and partner factors in understanding maternal health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)717-737
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar. 2020


  • Attachment anxiety
  • allostatic load
  • maternal health
  • mother–father dyad
  • perceived partner responsiveness
  • postpartum


Dive into the research topics of 'Parental attachment anxiety: Associations with allostatic load in mothers of 1-year-olds'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this