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Fonagy, P. Steele, M. Moran, G. Steele, H. Higgitt, A. (1993). Measuring the Ghost in the Nursery: An Empirical Study of the Relation Between Parents' Mental Representations of Childhood Experiences and their Infants' Security of Attachment. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 41:957-989.

(1993). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 41:957-989

Measuring the Ghost in the Nursery: An Empirical Study of the Relation Between Parents' Mental Representations of Childhood Experiences and their Infants' Security of Attachment

Peter Fonagy, Ph.D., Miriam Steele, Ph.D., George Moran, Ph.D., Howard Steele, Ph.D. and Anna Higgitt, M.D.

ABSTRACT

This paper presents a summary of the Anna Freud Centre-University College London, Parent-Child Project. Its most important finding was that the security of the infants' relationship with both parents at 12 and 18 months could be predicted on the basis of qualitative aspects of the parents' accounts of their own childhoods collected before the birth of the child. This confirmed Selma Fraiberg's observations concerning the reemergence of childhood conflicts at early stages of childbearing. Possible mechanisms mediating this link are explored with particular reference to the role of the parents' accurate mental representations of the infants' mental world.

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