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Attachment theory regards experiences with caregivers as the affective ground for the development of early images of self, possibly embedded in scripted secure-base knowledge as a rudimentary representation of early caregiver-child attachment relationships. However, the possible link between implicit representations of secure base availability - and the image of self in these representations - and explicit evaluations of self, is still unclear. The present study assessed whether implicit knowledge of secure-base interactions with caregivers is related to self-reported self-esteem in early middle childhood (N = 97 second-grade children). Results revealed that children with rich knowledge of secure base interactions perceived themselves not only as more accepted and appreciated by their peers and mothers but also as more cognitively competent, beyond actual differences in cognitive competence. Yet, given the limited strength of this link, the role of contextual factors beyond attachment ought to be considered in the assessment of self-perception in early middle childhood.
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