Infant Attachment and Maternal Sensitivity in the Arab Minority in Israel

Ghadir Zreik, David Oppenheim, Abraham Sagi-Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study is the first to examine infant–mother attachment in the Arab culture. Eighty-five Arab 1-year-old infants from Israel were observed in the strange situation, and maternal sensitivity was assessed from home observations. Supporting attachment theory's normativity hypothesis, no differences were found between the Arab-Israeli attachment distribution and Jewish-Israeli, Western, and non-Western distributions when examined at the two-way secure versus insecure level, although a few differences emerged when examined at the four-way ABCD level. Supporting the sensitivity hypothesis, mothers of secure infants were more sensitive than those of insecure infants but only in the case of Christian (and not Muslim) mothers. The findings provide support to attachment theory's generalizability but raise questions regarding the assessment of maternal sensitivity cross-culturally.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1338-1349
Number of pages12
JournalChild Development
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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