Two contrasting predictions about the effects of parental marital separation on infants' attachment to their mothers are considered. The "early adversity" hypothesis suggests that infants will be adversely affected by negative life events and thus will develop anxious attachments to their mothers. The "protective" hypothesis claims that infants are resistant to stressors because of their limited cognitive ability, and therefore will be no more likely to develop anxious attachments than other infants. Results from 76 motherchild pairs in the "strange situation" procedure (assessing infantmother attachment) supported the "protective" hypothesis in that there were no significant differenccs between infants in two marital status groups. The role of marital status versus unfavorable life events in affecting children's development was discussed.