It comes as no surprise that these studies revealed that an insecure attachment to both parents had detrimental effects and were predictive of current and future depressive outcomes. In a study by Hoeve and others (‘A meta-analysis of attachment to parents and delinquency. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology’) they recorded a correlation in adolescence between insecure attachment with the same sex parent and increased rates of delinquent behavior. I should perhaps temper such conclusion by acknowledging that human behaviour does not occur in a vacuum. There are influences that may prevail upon any individual in complex interplay of influences. Nevertheless, these relationships do play a pivotal role.
More generally and in a nod to commonsense, such studies have linked greater father involvement in infant care and other household tasks to the mother’s well-being, specifically in reducing stress and therefore depression. The healthy mental state of the mother is likely therefore to improve or strengthen the mother-infant bond. The relationship and the level of support provided by fathers has been a key predictor of secure mother-child attachments and positive parenting of young infants. Continuity was revealed to be important in parent-infant attachment. It was found that an enduring male presence over several years, rather than multiple males in relatively brief succession, correlated with the security of mother-infant attachment. By contrast, incidences of substance abuse and/or violence by the father affected father-infant attachment and also mother-child security attachment. The approach therefore must a whole family one and the needs and behaviour of both parents must be considered.