Adolescent attachment and problem behaviours among teens: The roles of parental adult attachment

Author: 
Date created: 
2017-11-30
Identifier: 
etd10448
Keywords: 
Problem behaviours, adolescent attachment, parental adult attachment, moderation, anxious attachment strategies, avoidant attachment strategies
Abstract: 

Teens with insecure attachment are at risk of developing problem behaviours, but the roles that parents’ attachment strategies play in the development of adolescent problem behaviours is rarely explored. This study examined the direct and indirect impacts of parents’ attachment strategies on teens’ mental health in a clinical population. Results indicated that while parents’ attachment strategies were uncorrelated with adolescent problem behaviours, they moderated the relationships between teens’ attachment strategies and internalizing problems, but not externalizing problems. Specifically, parents’ avoidant attachment strategies were associated with teens’ heightened vulnerability to internalizing problems, especially among teens less prone to internalizing problems. Importantly, while teens’ secure attachment strategies were generally associated with low levels of internalizing problems, the protective effect of attachment security was no longer present when parents consistently relied on avoidant attachment strategies, demonstrating a dismissing attachment style. Implications of these findings are discussed.

Document type: 
Thesis
Rights: 
This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes. Copyright remains with the author.
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
Marlene Moretti
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Psychology
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.
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