Session A: 9AM – 10:30AM

Social Sciences. Session A – Oral Presentations, Room 312, Union

SESSION A (9:00-10:30AM)
Location: Room 312, A. Ray Olpin University Union



Out Like a Light? Maternal Attachment and Sleep Procrastination
Grace Carsey, Utah Tech University

Faculty Mentor Dannelle Larsen-Rife, Utah Tech University

SESSION A 9:00-9:15AM
Room 312, Union
Social Sciences

Sleep is foundational to mental and physical health across the lifespan. Poor sleep contributes to major health complications such as obesity, type-2 diabetes, heart disease, and depression in adulthood. Adult sleep behaviors may be shaped by early childhood relationships, especially attachment developed in infancy. Parental responsiveness around infant sleep practices influences attachment and sleep patterns (Sagie et al., 1994). Secure attachment forms when parents are consistently responsive to infants’ needs, especially for safety and security. Infants who experience inconsistent or unresponsive parenting develop regulatory patterns that are anxious or avoidant, respectively, dimensions that underlie attachment. Attachment avoidance and anxiety are associated with clinically significant sleep disorders in infants (McNamara et al., 2003). While there is abundant research on the effects of insufficient sleep, there is relatively little known about the causes of sleep procrastination which is when individuals avoid or delay sleep. Attachment anxiety and avoidance, especially around sleep may be associated with avoiding and delaying sleep in adulthood. This study analyzed adults’ attachment avoidance and anxiety and bedtime procrastination. Participants (N = 145) completed the Relationship Structures questionnaire to assess attachment with their mother or mother-like figure while they were growing up and living at home, The Bedtime Procrastination questionnaire, and the While-in-Bed Procrastination questionnaire. Attachment avoidance and anxiety were significantly correlated with procrastination while-in-bed.  Results suggest attachment avoidance and anxiety may be important for prevention and intervention efforts for sleep insufficiency and sleep procrastination and the associated mental and physical health.



Enduring and Endearing Bonds: Maternal Personality and Child Attachment
Tara Caplin, Utah Tech University

Faculty Mentor Dannelle Larsen-Rife, Utah Tech University

SESSION A 9:20-9:35AM
Room 312, Union
Social Sciences

A child’s attachment to their mothers can greatly impact many areas of development, and can significantly affect many outcomes throughout the lifespan (Rees, 2007). If an individual develops insecure attachment with their primary caregivers, it has been strongly associated to decrease academic performance (Arend, 1979) and to increase the likelihood of the child engaging in risky life behaviors through adolescence (Young, 2013). There is abundant research on the influence of maternal attachment on the development of attachment with their children (van IJzendoorn & Bakermans-Kranenburg, 1997), and there are many factors that influence how children develop attachment styles. The types of interactions children have with their primary caregivers are especially important for the development of attachment. These interactions are determined by the parenting cognitions and practices which are a common formulation within parenting science, and are largely influenced by the personality of the parent (Bornstein, 2011). Attachment style development is dependent on the types of interactions the primary caregiver responds with to the infant’s needs, so as the parent is more sensitive and responsive to the infant’s cries the child will be more likely to develop a secure attachment style (Bowlby, 1979). Therefore, the relationship between maternal personality and child-mother attachment can help increase understanding on the development of secure attachment from children to their mothers, which is significantly related to a child’s cognitive, social, and emotional development. Maternal personality is the emphasis of this study because the levels of particular personality traits that lead to a parent being more open, comforting, and increase the likelihood of the parent to be sensitive to infant cues of distress is what will influence the types of cognitions, practices and interactions that will develop the child-parent attachment style. Additionally, little is known about how maternal personality affects parent-child attachment within non-clinical participants. This study will review the literature on the development of attachment, and the effects of maternal personality traits on maternal-child attachment, and outcomes in children using the DSM-oriented scales. A target of 450 mothers with children who are three to five years old will be recruited for the Early Experience Study. Mothers will complete the Mini International Personality Item Pool (Mini-IPIP; Donnellan et al., 2006) to assess Big 5 personality traits: Extraversion, Agreeableness, Neuroticism, Openness, and Conscientiousness. Participants will also complete the attachment Q-Sort (Waters & Deane, 1985; Vaughn & Waters, 1990) to assess mother-child attachment, and child outcome. It is anticipated mothers with lower extraversion, lower agreeableness, higher neuroticism, and less conscientiousness will have lower rates of mother-child secure attachment. Results from this study may be an important contributor in helping to understand how maternal personality influences the early parent-child relationship which is essential to improving child health and well-being.



Infant Attachment Security as a Predictor of Academic Outcomes Among Children Who Experienced Early Adversity: A Mediational Analysis Examining Executive Functioning and Language Skills During Early Childhood

Caton Weinberger, University of Utah

Faculty Mentor Lee Raby, University of Utah

SESSION A 9:40-9:55AM
Room 312, Union
Social Sciences

Identifying predictors of classroom success is critical for supporting children’s education. The first aim of the study was to examine whether infant attachment security positively predicts four cognitive outcomes among a high-risk sample of children: language skills, executive function, academic achievement, and cognitive ability. The second was to examine whether language skills and executive function in early childhood mediate the association between infant attachment and both academic achievement and cognitive ability in middle childhood. The study is relevant to a debate concerning whether cognitive outcomes can be predicted by early attachment security (e.g., Sroufe, 1988; Van IJzendoorn et al., 1995). Work showing an association between attachment and both language skills and executive function (e.g., Bernier et al., 2015; Van IJzendoorn et al., 1995) which have been shown to predict academic success (Duncan et al., 2007) provides the rationale for our predictions. The body of research examining infant attachment security as a predictor of cognitive outcomes has almost exclusively focused on low-risk samples. To address this, our sample included 149 mother-child dyads referred to Child Protective Services due to allegations of maltreatment. Attachment was measured at 24 months using the Strange Situation Paradigm (Ainsworth et al., 1978). Receptive language and executive function were assessed at approximately 48 months using the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (Dunn & Dunn, 1981) and the Dimensional Change Card Sort (Beck et al., 2011), respectively. Academic achievement and cognitive ability were measured using the Woodcock-Johnson III test battery at 9 years (Mather & Greg, 2001). Attachment security did not significantly predict any of the proposed outcomes. These results carry implications for the direction of future attachment research. Receptive language and executive function predicted both academic achievement and cognitive ability five years later. This carries implications for programs designed to support the education of at-risk children.


Sleep Quality & Early Life War Exposure: Insomnia Among Vietnamese Older Adults Using Data from the Vietnam Health and Aging Study (VHAS)
Sierra Young, University of Utah

Faculty Mentor Kim Korinek, University of Utah

SESSION A 10:00-10:15AM
Room 312, Union
Social Sciences

“In peace and war, the lack of sleep works like termites in a house: below the surface, gnawing quietly and unseen to produce gradual weakening which can lead to sudden and unexpected collapse.”
-Major General Aubrey Newman (Follow Me, 1981, p. 279)

We aim to explore the associations between insomnia, early-life war-related stressors, recent life events, other environmental factors, and health outcomes in a sample of 2,447 older Vietnamese adults derived from the 2018 Vietnam Health and Aging Study (VHAS). Insomnia is one of the main symptoms of a variety of adverse health outcomes and sleep disorders but there is a knowledge gap in Low- to Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) like Vietnam. We find that most respondents report moderate to severe insomnia. In ordered logistic regression analyses we find that respondents who served in the military, and who experienced high levels of wartime violence stressors and wartime malevolent conditions experience more severe insomnia in late adulthood. These associations are mediated by the experience of recent severe PTSD and physical pain. This research makes valuable steps toward understanding war’s enduring scars and global efforts to understand, prevent, and treat sleep problems.


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Utah Conference on Undergraduate Research 2023 - Program by Office of Undergraduate Research is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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