High emotionality to infant cry: associations with adult attachment, gender, and age

Sofie Rousseau, Tamar Feldman, Lisa Harroy, Nitzan Avisar, Melissa Wolf, Keren Bador, Tahl Frenkel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Caregivers’ sensitive responses to infant cry have long-term consequences for adaptive child development. Although mounting evidence suggests that parents who experience high emotionality to infant cry respond less sensitively to infant cry, there is a dearth of knowledge on potential mechanisms underlying individual differences in emotionality to infant cry. The current study investigates the importance of adult attachment security, gender, and age. 76 non-parents (38 female; 19–30 years old) listened to two episodes of infant cry (15 s; 75 s). Individuals with h⁠igher levels of attachment security reported less anxiety and hostility after the short cry, and less hostility after the long cry. For individuals with higher levels of attachment anxiety, associations were in the opposite direction, and individuals with higher levels of attachment avoidance reported more positive emotions after the long cry. Males and emergent adults reported more hostility after the long cry than females and adults. Results are discussed from an adult attachment, gender, and developmental theoretical framework.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2449-2458
Number of pages10
JournalEarly Child Development and Care
Issue number15
StatePublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Infant cry
  • age
  • attachment
  • emotional responses
  • gender
  • non-parents


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