Department of Psychology, Education and Child Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands; Primary Care Unit, School of Clinical Medicine, University of Cambridge, UK. Electronic address: [Email]
Attachment is transmitted from one generation to the next. Adult attachment has been shown to predict the security or insecurity of children's attachment relationship with their parents. In search for the mechanism of intergenerational transmission of attachment sensitive parenting has been the main focus of research during the past four decades. Meta-analytic work confirmed the role of sensitive parenting, but a large explanatory gap remains to be explained. Parental mentalization has not yet fulfilled its promise as a bridge across the transmission gap. Here we suggest a model of intergenerational transmission that includes context and differential susceptibility, and we argue that the concept of parenting should be broadened to include autonomy support, limit-setting, protective parenting, parental warmth, and repair of mismatches.