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Journal of Attachment Parenting: Studies Related to API's Eight Principles of Parenting

Attachment Parenting has been in the spotlight over the last few years more than ever before. Parents and providers alike regularly use social media to answer critiques and talk about their own experiences with Attachment Parenting in a rather amazing and unprecedented way. Unfortunately, less-responsive parenting methods such as sleep training have also been very much in the news over this same time with the publication of two widely distributed studies.

Parents are bombarded with a dizzying array of child rearing options and often wonder which approach they should adopt. The same forces that extolled the virtues of Attachment Parenting were also used to tout more-rigid parenting methods. When parents hear news reports praising the benefits of one-size-fits-all parenting techniques, providers need access to evidence-based information showing that other approaches are possible—and even desirable.

With that need in mind, and the larger need to advance the parent-child and family research into the intersection of Attachment Parenting International’s Eight Principles of Parenting, we are pleased to present this collection of recent independent studies that support these Eight Principles of Parenting. Few quality studies are widely publicized owing to a number of marketing and applicability factors, and likewise, few of these studies have been noted outside of academic circles, though this is not an indication of their value. Regardless of their media worthiness, these studies nonetheless continue to accumulate the irrefutable evidence favoring responsive parenting.

We consider it the foundation of API’s mission to provide evidence-based information to anyone engaged in the education, care or support of parents, families or children. In addition, API hopes that this issue of the Journal inspires further research on topics and variables related to healthy, responsive parenting and parenting support.

We hope that you find our summary of recent findings useful in your work. These studies represent a relatively small percentage of the available literature that quietly yet firmly demonstrates that responsive and warm parenting leads to the best outcomes for children—and their parents.

Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, PhD, IBCLC Artimesia Yuen, Editors


API recognizes and thanks the volunteer Research Team Members who helped make this publication possible:  Kate Barclay; Rita Brhel, API Publications Editor; Naomi Davidson, API Tech Coordinator; Rochelle Friedman, PhD; Samantha Gray, API Exectutive Director; Christina Izzo, PhD; Kathy Kendall-Tackett, PhD, IBCLC; Jade Kerr; Lisa Lord, Katryne Luckensbull, Patricia Mackie, MS, LPC, API Leader; James McKenna, PhD; Lisa Reagan; Judy Resko, PhD; Christina Robert, PhD; Monica Rojas, PhD; Scott Sherwood, Karen Walant, PhD and others.


Thank you to the following independent businesses, organizations, and individuals whose donations helped make this debut of the Journal possible:


About the API Abstract Format

The studies presented are in the form of abstracts with full citations provided to allow for quick, highlighted reading and easy access to the full reference for further information about a particular study.

Our formatting includes the following considerations: 

  • API’s intent in presenting research using the API Abstract Format is to significantly preserve the authors’ work and context while presenting common summary elements of each paper in a standard, accessible format. In some cases, we have edited for brevity, but our goal is a faithful summary presentation of key points.
  • We have specifically omitted detailed discussions of statistical analyses and results for the sake of accessibility and brevity.
  • Each paper has its own references that we encourage readers to review for a broader view of the topic.
  • Research designs range widely and differ by field of study. We have attempted to identify the design that best summarizes and characterizes the paper being presented. 


Search Goals

In searching for the articles we chose to present in this issue, our criteria reflected our desire to:

  • Provide a wide but not exhaustive variety of current work relevant to API’s Eight Principles of Parenting
  • Include approximately five papers per Principle to provide a sample of the current research related to the Principles
  • Provide citations of all papers considered but not selected for presentation so that our readers have a sense of our process and can pursue their own exploration
  • Present a broad range of research representative of demographic and design diversity that span:
    • Child ages
    • Caregivers
    • Geographic locations, including cross-cultural and international
    • Sample and population characteristics such as clinical, community, and at-risk
    • Assessment settings such as home, school, and lab
    • Types of assessments such as self-report, other report, and observational
    • Type of study/analysis such as experimental, randomized, controlled trials; non-experimental studies; survey and correlational studies; and literature reviews (descriptive, systematic, meta-analyses)


Inclusion Criteria

The papers that we present met the following criteria:

  • Full paper is available and accessible for review using research databases
  • Directly relevant to one or more of API’s Eight Principles of Parenting
  • Research is primary or a review of published studies
  • The paper was published in a high-quality, peer-reviewed journal
  • Specific search criteria and terms vary for each Principle with an aim to capture work that relates to the essence of the Principle


Exclusion Criteria

Papers were excluded from this issue if they met the following criteria:

  • Publish dates prior to 2010
  • Papers not fully accessible for review with research databases
  • Papers not directly related to any of API’s Eight Principles of Parenting
  • Books, articles, theses, or dissertations
  • Papers that were not peer-reviewed or were published by an unknown or non-reputable source
  • Papers that did not meet the search criteria specified for an individual Principle


Journal Purpose: Conceived as a component of Attachment Parenting International’s mission to provide research-based information to anyone engaged in the education, care or support of parents, families or children, the Journal is envisioned as an annual survey and compilation of current, high-quality literature related to API’s Mission and Eight Principles of Parenting. API hopes that the Journal inspires further research that increasingly incorporates and embraces cross-disciplinary topics and variables related to parenting and parenting support.
Independence of Researchers/Conflicts of Interest: This publication and the selection of papers included is the sole product of API and its staff without solicitation, notification, or other permissions to the researchers and authors of the included papers. The papers reflect the findings of the independent researchers and may not represent the opinion of API. Inclusion is at the sole discretion of API and does not signify affiliation between the researcher, the research institution or API. API has not paid for, directed or otherwise participated in research included herein.
API’s Mission: To educate and support all parents in raising secure, joyful, and empathic children in order to strengthen families and create a more compassionate world. For more on API’s perspective on parenting, please visit the API website,
Disclaimer: Nothing in the Journal should be construed as medical or legal advice. This publication is provided for information purposes only. Consult your healthcare provider for your individual health and medical needs and attorney for legal advice.  
Copyright 2021 Attachment Parenting International  No material may be reproduced or reprinted without the permission of the publisher.