The quality of early infant-caregiver relational attachment and longitudinal changes in infant inflammation across 6 months

Benjamin W. Nelson, Rosemary Bernstein, Nicholas B. Allen, Heidemarie K. Laurent

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The quality of early caregiver–infant relationships has powerful implications for health trajectories across the lifespan, including associations with adult inflammation. However, because relatively few studies have examined this association during infancy, it remains unclear when this impact occurs and whether it is associated with longitudinal changes in salivary concentrations of inflammation across infancy. In 45 infants, we investigated whether the quality of infant-caregiver attachment (secure vs. insecure) was associated not only with levels of salivary C-reactive protein (sCRP) cross-sectionally, but also with changes in sCRP across 6 months. Interestingly, while there were no cross-sectional associations between infant-caregiver attachment and inflammation at 12 months of age, infant-caregiver attachment security predicted lower levels of sCRP 6 months later. In addition, attachment security predicted decreasing levels of sCRP from 12 months to 18 months of age. Implications for understanding the influence of the quality of early relationships on biological mechanisms related to disease are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)674-683
Number of pages10
JournalDevelopmental psychobiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Developmental Biology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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