Despite insecure attachment and affect regulation difficulties being identified as transdiagnostic risk factors for mental health concerns during adolescent development, research investigating core features connecting these constructs remains limited. The present study addresses this gap by examining the relations between attachment and affect regulation at the item level using network analytic techniques. A clinical sample of adolescents (N = 608; 56.6% female; Mage=13.98) was analyzed, plotting validated measures of attachment and affect regulation to visualize the connections between these constructs. The network plot revealed four connected dimensions: attachment anxiety, attachment avoidance, affect dysregulation/suppression, and affect reflection. Notably, affect dysregulation and suppression merged into one dimension when visualizing attachment and affect regulation together, indicating their interdependence with attachment. Items capturing conflicting feelings towards attachment figures and negative perceptions of affect reflection were significant in understanding the cross-sectional interplay between attachment and affect regulation. Implications, limitations, and future research directions are discussed.
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Thesis advisor: Moretti, Marlene
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