Narrative story stems with high risk six year-olds: differential associations with mother- and teacher-reported psycho-social adjustment

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Children's responses on a Narrative Story Stem Technique (NSST) were coded using scales reflecting essential attachment constructs, specifically, attachment, exploratory, sociability, and caregiving behavioral systems, as originally conceived by Bowlby ( 1973 , 1982 ) and elaborated upon by his followers (Cassidy, 2008 ). NSST responses were examined in relation to both mother- and teacher-reported psycho-social adjustment and risk using the MacArthur Health & Behavior Questionnaire (HBQ). Forty-six children participated (average age 6 years 10 months), 19 of whom had high-risk backgrounds, and the rest demographically matched. Findings indicate that NSST scales were associated with behavior on certain HBQ scales, in expected directions. NSST responses appeared to differentiate socially competent children from children with the specific psycho-social risks of externalizing behavior problems and social isolation, according to mother-reports, on the one hand, and peer vulnerability and internalizing problems, according to teacher-reports, on the other. Implications for clinical applications are discussed.

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Attachment & human development

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