Date of Award


Publication Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name





Psychology, Developmental.


Orr, Robert,




The purpose of the present study was to examine the association between attachment relationships with mothers and fathers and emotional intelligence in a sample of 31 preschool age children. Based on a review of attachment theory and research, it was hypothesized that both secure maternal and paternal attachment relationships would be associated with higher levels of emotional intelligence, and that attachment to mother would emerge as a more important predictor of emotional intelligence. A multi-method approach was utilized, including parents' ratings of attachment relationships, teacher ratings of socioemotional competence, and children's performance on a variety of measures designed to assess aspects of emotional self-awareness, empathy, and achievement orientation. Results generally failed to support an association between maternal attachment and emotional intelligence. However, a more secure attachment relationship with father was found to be associated with lower levels of externalizing behavioural difficulties for the total sample. Analyses completed to examine the combined effect of both attachment relationships revealed no statistically significant findings. When analyses were completed separately according to the sex of the child and parent, results revealed relatively distinctive patterns in which maternal attachment relationships were associated with particular aspects of achievement orientation (i.e., impulse control) for girls but with no aspects of emotional intelligence for boys, and in which more secure paternal attachment relationships were associated primarily with lower rates of externalizing problems for girls and with aspects of achievement orientation (i.e., higher self-evaluation and more internal locus of control) and overall emotional intelligence for boys. Children's age, sex and receptive language skills, included as covariates, were also found to be associated in predictable ways with the development of emotional intelligence. Findings are discussed in the context of theory and research on attachment relationships, as well as in terms of methodological limitations of the study. The utility of the construct of emotional intelligence is then considered, particularly in light of the present study's attempt to develop a measure of emotional self-awareness in preschool age children.Dept. of Psychology. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis2000 .H68. Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 62-10, Section: B, page: 4818. Adviser: Robert Orr. Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 2000.