Mothers’ real-time emotion as a function of attachment and proximity to their children.

Building on established links between attachment insecurity and maladaptive emotion regulation, here we examine whether traitlike attachment style predicts individual differences in mothers’ emotions in situations with and without their children. Using ecological momentary assessment (EMA), we measured the real-time positive and negative emotions of 145 mothers of young children across a 10-day period, with self-reported attachment and presence of children as predictors of individual differences in emotion. Attachment anxiety was associated with more negative emotion and attachment avoidance was associated with less positive emotion. Associations between avoidance and positive emotion were moderated by the presence of children, whereas associations between both anxiety and avoidance and negative emotion were moderated by the amount of time mothers spent with their children. These findings support the notion that parents’ attachment style predicts meaningful individual differences in their real-time emotional experiences. As the first study to explore associations between attachment styles and real-time emotional experiences in mothers of young children, this work has important implications for developing interventions that enhance family well-being. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)