Published online by Cambridge University Press: 25 January 2022
The current study explored dynamics of secure state attachment expectations in everyday life in middle childhood, specifically state attachment carry-over and reactivity to experiences of caregiver support in the context of stress. In two independent samples (one community sample, N = 123; one adoption sample, N = 69), children (8–12 years) daily reported on their state attachment for respectively 14 and 7 consecutive days. Additionally, they reported daily on their experiences of distress and subsequent experiences of caregiver support. Results in both samples indicated that secure state attachment on a day-to-day basis is characterized by a significant positive carry-over effect, suggesting that state attachment fluctuations are (partially) self-predictive. In Study 1, experiencing no support following distress significantly related to intraindividual decreases in secure state attachment; in Study 2, experiencing effective support during distress related to intra-individual increases in secure state attachment. Taken together, the current studies provide novel and important insights into how state attachment temporally evolves on a day-to-day basis in middle childhood.