Written by Katarzyna LUBIEWSKA on . Posted in Special issue: Individual Development And Family Relations In Eastern Europe, Guest Editors: Mihaela FRIEDLMEIER, Wolfgang FRIEDLMEIER, Volume XVI, Nr. 2


This study investigated the influence of socio-political change in Poland on the transmission of generic attachment representation across three generations: maternal grandmothers, mothers and their adolescent children. Two groups of mothers were differentiated based on their age by assuming that the different length of experience of their personal lives before 1989 led to different demands and challenges after the collapse of communism. Direct mother-adolescent transmission of attachment is expected for the group of older mothers as well as a mediating role of parenting for the transmission. Due to consequences of societal transformation, these effects are not expected for the group of younger mothers. However, grandmothers may play a stronger child-rearing role in families of these younger mothers. A total of N = 503 families (grandmothers, mothers, and their adolescent child) were interviewed in different areas of Poland. Attachment representation was assessed by AAS (Collins & Read, 1990) and parenting by PARQ (Rohner et al., 1980). Two “cohorts” of families with adolescent children were differentiated by selecting families of younger mothers (M = 20.1 years in 1989, n = 206) and families of older mothers (M = 30.7 years in 1989, n = 194). Only data for these two groups were analyzed further. Results supported cross- generational continuities of generic attachment insecurity and showed cohort effects on the transmission process. The common pattern of attachment transmission mediated by parenting was only supported in the cohort of older mothers. In families of younger mothers, the attachment transmission from grandmother to grandchild was stronger than from the mother to the child. These results support the argument that effects of social change moderate the intergenerational transmission of attachment. These effects are indirect and other factors beyond social change can be responsible. Future research is needed to clarify and to add additional evidence for such effects.

KEYWORDS: Attachment intergenerational transmission, parenting, social change