According to attachment theory, potentially threatening stimuli tend to activate the attachment system for the search of the protective figure. In secure attachments, the experience of responsive relationships increases the probability of resorting to available figures as a strategy for regulating emotions in stressful situations. The aim of the research was to verify whether, in conditions of mild threat, children’s attachment styles affect the choice between caring relationships and food as a form of emotion regulation. We used a mixed experimental design to perform this research. Here, we presented children (N = 65; Mage= 9.4) with threatening and neutral images and, afterwards, asked them to select from images of caring relationship or images of food. The results indicate that securely and ambivalently attached but not avoidantly attached children under both the neutral and threatening image conditions chose the care pictures over the food pictures. Second, only the securely attached increased their choice of care over food images in the threatening condition, and third, this difference was significant when compared with the avoidant children. In conclusion, the results show that although in general the choice of care is primary with respect to food, children with insecure attachments differ from secure children between the two options of emotional regulation.
Care vs Food as an Emotional Regulation Strategy in Elementary School Children: The Role of the Attachment Style / Uccula, A.; Enna, M.; Mulatti, C.. - In: THE JOURNAL OF GENETIC PSYCHOLOGY. - ISSN 0022-1325. - 181:5(2020), pp. 336-347. [10.1080/00221325.2020.1768504]