Simona Di Folco, Giulio Cesare Zavattini

Father-child attachment relationship: a review of the literature

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Attachment; Father; Intergenerational Transmission; Sensitivity; Play.

This review article aims to present the state of the art regarding father-child attachment relationship in early infancy and middle childhood. We will examine the literature about: 1) father as an attachment figure; 2) attachment to father as predictive of children's developmental outcomes; 3) concordance/discordance of attachment representations to mother/father with respect to developmental outcomes; 4) play in father-child «activation relationship»; 5) the intergenerational transmission of attachment and, finally, 6) paternal sensitivity. Based on the review of extant literature, we found that: father is an important attachment figure and the father-child attachment predicts some development outcomes; in presence of discordance of attachment representations, attachment to father acts a «buffer» against negative developmental outcomes, while, in case of concordance, it promotes positive ones; play is embedded in father-child attachment relationship and it promotes emotion regulation; intergenerational transmission of attachment happens later on in the development; lastly, sensitivity in play is a parameter that ought to be considered in future assessments of father-child attachment relationship. This review outlines the distinctiveness of father-child attachment relationship and its direct/indirect effects on child development but, most of all, the necessity to develop a specific theoretical and methodological framework to conceptualize it.

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