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Study Questions for Recommended Reading A: Bus et al.

Bus, A.G., Belsky, J., van IJzendoorn, M.H., & Crnic, K. (1997). Attachment and bookreading patterns: A study of mothers, fathers, and their toddlers. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 12(1), 81-98. 

  1. What was the primary purpose, or hypothesis, of this study?
  2. What were the limitations of previous research on the affective context of book reading?
  3. What criteria were used to include families and children in the study?
  4. How might the eligibility criteria affect the generalizability of the study’s findings?
  5. Describe the limitations and advantages of conducting the research in a laboratory.
  6. What were the major findings of this study?
  7. What did the authors conclude?
  8. What practical implications of the findings do the authors suggest?

 

  1. What was the primary purpose, or hypothesis, of this study?
    • The study tests whether children’s ability to engage in shared storybook readings is related to their attachment relationship with their parents. The study compares shared book reading patterns of securely attached children and their parents with the joint book reading of insecurely attached children and their parents.
  2. What were the limitations of previous research on the affective context of book reading?
    • Other studies on shared storybook readings have exclusively focused on mother-child dyads. This study considers mother-child and father-child dyads.
  3. What criteria were used to include families and children in the study?
    • Families were eligible for the study if they had a firstborn son and were expecting to stay in the area for at least two years. The rationale for only using boys in the study was that it was part of a larger study examining the interactions of families with toddler boys to identify antecedents of problem behaviors.        
  4. How might the eligibility criteria affect the generalizability of the study’s findings?
    • Participants’ responses will vary. Excluding girls in the study reduces the generalizability. Parents might hold different expectations for boys and girls regarding early literacy, which will affect how they interact during the shared storybook reading unrelated to their attachment relationship. A more heterogeneous sample of participants would enhance the generalizability of the results.
  5. Describe the limitations and advantages of conducting the research in a laboratory.
    • Participants’ responses will vary. Clinical settings are likely to affect the behaviors of parents and children. The stress created by separating the parent and child in the presence of a stranger is exacerbated by bringing the child to an unknown environment. This condition is unnatural to the child and might not reflect the parent-child attachment relationship under natural conditions. Furthermore, the book reading can also be affected by the artificial setting. The storybook routine that the parent-child dyads typically engage in cannot be replicated in a clinical setting. The book was unfamiliar to most of the children and parents, and they did not have access to the props and space they typically use during storybook readings. On the contrary, laboratory observations can be more comparable because they provide a consistent environment across families.         
  6. What were the major findings of this study?
    • The study confirms that interaction patterns of insecure-avoidant and insecure-resistant mother-child pairs during storybook reading are different than interactions of securely attached mother-child dyads. The mothers in insecure- avoidant relationships were generally not able to create an age appropriate interaction. The mothers focused on the text and the children were more unresponsive and distractible. The insecure-resistant pairs were similar. However, the mothers seemed less able to facilitate the children’s self-regulation. Furthermore, the mothers were very over stimulating and controlling. The children were less interactive and showed more aggressive behaviors. No attachment differences were noted for the father-child dyads.
  7. What did the authors conclude?
    • The authors concluded that literacy experiences during shared book reading differ as a function of the broader relationship context.
  8. What practical implications of the findings do the authors suggest?
    • The authors suggest that programs that recommend and encourage shared storybook reading at home without providing any facilitation might be unsuccessful. The authors recommend designing intervention strategies that consider different parent-child relationships.