Parenting intentions and expectations: The role of attachment and caregiving

Judi Walsh, Gaynor Britten, Lucy Smith, Laura Hoppitt

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Previous research has shown attachment avoidance in adulthood to be a strongnegative predictor of desire to have children, bonding in pregnancy, and abilityto relate to children after birth (Rholes, Simpson, & Blakely, 1995; Rholes,Simpson, Blakely, Lanigan, & Allen, 1997). Other research has shown that relationships between adult attachment and prenatal bonding and parenting style are sometimes mediated by caregiving style (Walsh et al., 2011; Millings, Walsh, & O’Brien, 2008). The two studies presented here explore the roles of attachment and caregiving in how individuals without children think about their intentions to become a parent and their expectations of what future parenting will be like. Study 1 demonstrated that, in accordance with other literature, attachment avoidance was a good negative predictor of desire to have children, but that caregiving style did not mediate this relationship. There appeared to be different predictors for young men and young women such that attachment avoidance predicted desire to have children for women, but caregiving responsiveness to partner predicted desire to have children for men. The second study sought to replicate and extend these results by examining attachment, caregiving, and relationship influences on expectations of future parenting. This research adds to our understanding of the correlates and predictors of parenting intentions and expectations, and the relative importance of relationship and individual processes.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2012
EventReproductive and Infant Psychology (SRIP) 32nd Annual Conference - St. Anne’s College, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom
Duration: 12 Sep 201213 Sep 2013


ConferenceReproductive and Infant Psychology (SRIP) 32nd Annual Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom

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