SUMMARY:

The current project delved into the relationships among blanket attachments, child access to parents, and parental attitudes opposed or unfriendly to the concept of using an inanimate object as a soother. Whether attachment is dependent on parental beliefs/sleeping arrangements/proximity to parents and other variables was investigated in this study.

Prior research suggests that blanket attachments are most common at age 3 years with attachments tapering off by age 5 years.

It is very likely that cultural differences will be present in the development of attachments to blankets, as one would expect differences in perspective and context among different cultures.

Within the US data, as expected, the arrangement of a child’s night time sleep was associated with different frequencies of blanket attachment levels, with children who slept alone more likely to be rated as blanket attached than were children who slept with their parents or siblings.   However, sleeping arrangement was less explanatory for children in India, as the vast majority (80%) of children in the sample co-slept with their parents (slept in the same bed).

Within the US data, also as predicted, what parents believe about blanket attachments was related to the likelihood of children being rated as blanket-attached, with children whose parent held more neutral/positive beliefs about blanket-attachments more likely to be rated as blanket attached than were children whose parents deemed such children as nervous, who preferred them to seek the parent out for comfort, or who could not say.   However, the India data reflected no distinct differences in reported parent beliefs about blanket attachments between parents of blanket-attached children versus those of blanket unattached children.

Limits of this study included the expected methodological issues and general constraints of survey-based approaches. Instead of adhering to presented force-choice options on questionnaire items, a handful of participants filled in or created their own options, thus necessitating the omission of a select number of responses in the overall data pool. Although researchers made sizable effort to obtain a varied population sample (e.g., sampling from play schools, shopping areas, etc…), minority participants were limited in representation.

The cross-cultural comparison created struggle with different demographic variable definitions. For example, annual family income could not be directly compared (dollars versus rupees; variation in socioeconomic status by country). Parent education level also could not be compared, due to different educational system categorization (e.g., high school diplomas, bachelor’s degree requirements).

Future investigations might implement computer based survey formats to restrict responses to presented forced choice options.  Such online approaches might enhance minority representation within the sample as well.