Parent-child attachment as a mechanism of intergenerational (dis)advantage

Sophie Moullin, Jane Waldfogel, Elizabeth Washbrook

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article (Academic Journal)peer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
867 Downloads (Pure)


A growing literature connects childhood socio-emotional skills to adult socio-economic outcomes. But what explains differing levels of socio-emotional skills? Current theories consider parental investment and socialisation, but neglect the emotional and relational aspects of parenting. Attachment theory offers a model of the micro-level mechanisms that connect parenting processes and socio-emotional development intergenerationally. It has, however, tended to de-emphasise macro, contextual socio-economic factors. Through an extensive, integrative review of the empirical literature on the effects and antecedents of parent-child attachment, we argue that attachment is a mechanism through which socio-emotional - and socio-economic - (dis)advantages persist.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-284
Number of pages20
JournalFamilies, Relationships and Societies
Issue number2
Early online date6 Oct 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2018


  • Attachment
  • Early childhood
  • Intergenerational transmission
  • Non-cognitive
  • Parenting
  • Socio-emotional


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