Predictors and consequences of developmental changes in adolescent girls' self-reported quality of attachment to their primary caregiver

Lori N. Scott, Diana J. Whalen, Maureen Zalewski, Joseph E. Beeney, Paul A. Pilkonis, Alison E. Hipwell, Stephanie D. Stepp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

In an at-risk community sample of 2101 girls, we examined trajectories, predictors, and consequences of changes in a central aspect of adolescents' perceived quality of attachment (QOA), i.e., their reported trust in the availability and supportiveness of the primary caregiver. Results demonstrated two distinct epochs of change in this aspect of girls' perceived QOA, with a significant linear decrease in early adolescence (ages 11-14) followed by a plateau from 14 to 16. Baseline parent-reported harsh punishment, low parental involvement, single parent status, and child-reported depression symptoms predicted steeper decreases in attachment during early adolescence, which in turn predicted greater child-reported depression and conduct disorder symptoms in later adolescence. Results suggest that both parent and child factors contribute to trajectories of self-reported QOA in adolescence, and a faster rate of decrease in girls' perceived QOA to caregivers during early adolescence may increase risk for both internalizing and externalizing symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)797-806
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Adolescence
Volume36
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2013

Keywords

  • Adolescence
  • Adolescent girls
  • Attachment
  • Conduct disorder
  • Depression
  • Parenting

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