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Psicologia: Reflexão e Crítica

Print version ISSN 0102-7972


MAIA, Joana et al. Singularities of gender in the representations of attachment during pre-school time. Psicol. Reflex. Crit. [online]. 2012, vol.25, n.3, pp.491-498. ISSN 0102-7972.

Attempting to identify individual differences in the way children tend to enact a variety of attachmentrelated scenarios, the Attachment Story Completion Task (Bretherton, Ridgeway, & Cassidy, 1990) has been used in various cultures, both with normative and clinical samples, being considered a key narrative methodology in the field. Yet, a controversial question regarding its use is the fact that some studies unexpectedly report gender differences. Attachment Theory does not consider gender a relevant variable in the organization (quality) of attachment relationships. Gender is also not relevant when mental representations regarding such relationships are considered. Two hundred fifty two pre-schoolers (M=62; DP=15.1) participated in this study. Children's narratives were coded according to a continuous security scale, and no correlation was found with Verbal I.Q. Gender differences were found [F(1.253)=11.8, p<.01] with girls, on average, having higher scores than boys in all stories. Different reasons for children's play behavior were discussed, considering also that this kind of methodology can be a stressful situation to the child (Oppenheim, 1997). Special emphasis was given to Taylor et al. (2000) bio-evolutionist theory that explores the use of different strategies to cope with stress used by both genders.

Keywords : Attachment representations; gender differences; narratives.

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