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Adolescent Attachment To Parents And Peers


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  • 1. Adolescent Attachment to Parents and Peers Andrea L. Barrocas The Emory Center for Myth and Ritual in American Life Working Paper No. 50 Abstract Attachment bonds exist in relationships across the lifespan. Adolescence may be a particularly crucial period for attachment relations. As relationships with parents shift 1
  • 2. and those with peers gain importance, patterns of attachment may change as well. There is a huge gap in the attachment literature on the utilization of mother, father and peers attachment figures, specifically how attachment to parents relates to that with peers and, importantly, how adolescents are attached to their fathers as compared to their mothers. This study explores these patterns of attachment in adolescence. Twenty-four racially diverse, mostly middle class adolescents’ (grades eight and ten), mothers’ and fathers’ attachment was measured using the Inventory of Parent and Peer Attachment (IPPA) questionnaire. Overall, adolescents rated attachment to mother and father similarly, suggesting generalization of attachment representations, but they rated attachment to peers, especially on the communication dimension, higher than to parents, suggesting a rise in the importance of peers. Implications of these findings for adolescent attachment relationships are discussed. Adolescent Attachment to Parents and Peers Adolescence is a major transitional period in a person’s life. With the onset of puberty come not only physical changes, but also many other important changes. For example, the social world of an adolescent changes to become more peer focused than before. However, parents do not disappear from the daily life of an adolescent. Therefore, a major task of adolescence is to figure out which people can help satisfy what need. Attachment theory may be helpful in understanding some of the patterns that exist across the transition to adolescence. Specifically, this project will use attachment theory to understand the relationships that adolescents have with their mother, father and peers. Attachment Theory Attachment theory originated as an explanation of the bond that exists between an infant and the primary caregiver, typically the mother (Bowlby, 1988). This bond not only is important for general well being (e.g. Kreppner & Ullrich, 1998) but also functions as a template for all relationships across the lifespan (e.g. Waters, Merrick, Treboux, Crowell, & Albershein, 2000). As early as infancy, children can mentally represent their attachment figures and construct ideas and expectations for relationships with both these original figures and others. Bowlby called this the internal working model of attachment. Attachment in infancy is conceptualized as distinct but integrated behaviors that are exhibited by the infant in response to the caregiver’s behaviors. There are three attachment related behaviorsi that define how attachment is seen across the lifespan: proximity seeking (proximity maintenance), separation protest, and secure base (Hazan & Shaver, 1987; Segrin & Flora, 2005). Proximity seeking describes the physical closeness of infants to their caregiver. Separation protest refers to the unwillingness to separate from the caregiver, which is translated through behaviors such as crying. When an 2
  • 3. attachment figure is a child’s secure base, he or she is utilized as a foundation from which to explore the environment and seek out non-attachment related pursuits. Related to the secure base phenomenon is the idea of an attachment figure being a safe haven because of representations of the attachment bond. Representing an attachment figure as a safe haven, consequently, means that the infant goes to the caregiver when distressed or in need of comfort or support, thus using the attachment figure as a secure base. Individual Differences. Early attachment theorist Mary Ainsworth explained attachment behaviors in infancy as an organizational construct, one that relies on the quality of the primary caregiver’s (typically the mother) response to the infant’s behaviors that then influence the infant’s responses and interactions (see Sroufe & Waters, 1997). Differences in reactions and interactions lead to individual differences in the infant’s security. For example, mothers who respond in a sensitive manner to their infants have infants who think they will be taken care of (for more on this topic see Karen, 1994). More specifically, in mother-infant interactions of this type, the infant learns that the mother is a steady and secure person to go to for comfort. In other words, the mother is perceived as a secure base for the infant. Therefore, it was thought that there would be differences in how infants respond to and process caregivers’ behaviors, and that infants would show differences in their own behaviors as well. Ainsworth developed a way to measure individual differences in a testing situation called the Strange Situation. In the Strage Situation, the infant and mother interact, generally in some form of play, and the infant is allowed to explore the surroundings (for more detail see Sroufe & Waters, 1997). The mother then leaves the room and the infant is alone. At this point, in most cases, a non-familiar adult enters. Following this, there is a reunion of mother and infant. Observing each point of change in the Strange Situation can help explain the security of the infant involved by looking at the levels of stress and comfort that the infant and mother exhibit. Children are classified in threeii categories according to their behaviors during reunion episodes: secure, anxious-avoidant and anxious-ambivalent. A secure infant seeks comfort from the caregiver because of representations that the caregiver has been and can be used as a secure base, and explores the environment with ease (Hazan & Shaver, 1994). An anxious-avoidant infant does not show distress during the separation and upon reunion with the caregiver avoids contact due to conflicting representations of the caregiver (Hazan & Shaver, 1994; Waters, Hamilton, & Weinfield, 2000). An anxious-ambivalent infant seeks the comfort of the caregiver, yet is not soothed upon reunion (Hazan & Shaver, 1994). Stability of Attachment Over Time. Attachment researchers have examined attachment beyond infancy. Rather than looking at attachment behaviors, however, researchers have looked at attachment representations. It is thought is that one creates mental representations of how to interact with others, termed the internal working model of attachment, based on previous attachment related relationships and interactions. Bowlby (1988) believed that starting in infancy a child internalizes patterns of relating to people, generally the parents, and forms an idea of how to relate to others based on these representations. Through early interactions with caregivers, children internalize and organize their understanding of relationships (Laursen & Collins, 2004). Each attachment relationship shapes the child’s mental schema and leads to the development of expectations for future relationships and interactions. 3
  • 4. A basic tenet of attachment theory is that it is stable over time, however research yields mixed findings. Longitudinal studies (e.g. Hamilton, 2000; Walters, Hamilton, & Weinfield, 2000) measured both infant attachment security status using the Strange Situation and later attachment in adulthood. Researchers found strong retention rates in classification of attachment. In other words, for most individuals there was continuity of attachment; however, instability and change in attachment classification for those who did change were explained by significant life events. There was very little change in classification occurring for those who did not have significant life events (e.g. Easterbrooks, 1989; Hamilton, 2000; Walters et al., 2000). Thompson (2000) argues that security of attachment will remain stable only if other aspects of life that are related to attachment remain stable across transitions. He states, specifically, that if quality of parental care is stable and development of solid self-concept and self-esteem occur, one is likely to remain securely attached to others. On the other hand, yet still supporting Thompson’s argument, some researchers found that attachment is not stable. For example, Lewis, Feirin, and Rosenthal (2000) found no relationship between attachment security status in infancy and adolescence. In the study, classification changed for about half of the participants. In addition, divorce was a huge mediating factor for change in attachment status, showing that the internal working model of attachment can be changed due to attachment related experiences. Thompson’s (2000) argument supports these findings because of his belief that security can remain stable if there is stability in relationships and quality of care, but intervening occurrences that change these factors can cause security to shift. These findings suggest that new experience builds upon previous experiences to create flexible representations of how relationships are expected to be. Stability of Attachment Across Caregivers. A related issue is the concordance of attachment, defined as the stability of attachment between attachment figures (i.e. mother, father, peer, sibling). Research on the concordance of children’s’ attachment to mother and father focuses primarily on relationships during infancy. Such studies show mixed findings. Several point toward strong concordance between attachment to mother and father (e.g. Easterbrooks, 1989) and others suggest that the mother-infant and father- infant attachment relationships are independent (Main & Weston, 1981). Easterbrooks (1989) found a rate of 70% concordance between the attachment relationships that 20 month-old infants had with their mothers and fathers, which strongly supports the notion of concordance. One explanation for the strong rate of concordance is that parents who are more similar in childrearing approaches, such as sensitivity and availability, will have children who are attached similarly to both parents. More importantly, in an analysis of 11 studies of attachment that measure classification with Ainsworth’s Strange Situation, Fox, Kimmerly, and Schafer (1991) found overall support for concordance of attachment to mother and father; those infants who were securely attached to their mother were more likely to be securely attached to their father (the same patterns were found for insecurity). These findings suggest that children do internalize representations of relationships and attachments and form expectations for other close relationships. On the other hand, some of the studies examined suggested a lack of concordance of attachment between caregivers (Fox, Kimmerly, & Shafer, 1991). For example, Main and Weston (1981) found that mother- infant and father-infant attachment were not dependent on one another. They argue that 4
  • 5. all relationships are different. Although mother-infant and father-infant relationships do interact with one another, mothers and fathers each have specific ways of raising and relating to their children. To date, concordance has only been examined in infancy and early childhood, leaving concordance of attachment in adolescence as yet unexplored. Because of the developmental changes that occur in adolescence, this period seems to be one in which it is important to look at how attachment to each figure is related. Adolescent Development Adolescence is a period of significant cognitive, social and behavioral transitions. Cognitively, there are huge gains in reasoning and perspective taking skills, as well as acquisition of better emotional understanding. Socially, peer relationships become much more important than before. Physically, puberty begins, sparking hormonal and physical changes. The developmental changes that occur in early adolescence are related to one another. Importantly, they impact the desire for a more independent and autonomous life that comes with adolescence. It is during this stage that an individual develops a more mature sense of identity (Erikson, 1968) because of such advances in behavioral, social and cognitive realms (Habermas & Bluck, 2000). For example, abstract thinking allows for new thoughts related to identity (e.g. “Who am I?” “What do I like?” “Who do I strive to be?”), which is one of the main transitions to adolescence; however, it is questionable how much this affects the parent-child relationship in adolescence (Collins & Repinsky, 1994). These social developments have the most significant implications for adolescent attachment, although the biological and cognitive changes are important as well. Parent-Adolescent Interactions. The greatest markers of developmental changes in the self in adolescence are seen through independence, autonomy and detachment from caregivers (Erikson, 1968; Ryan & Lynch, 1989). Ryan and Lynch (1989) found that adolescents strive for more autonomy and individuation from parents than before period of development and there is a higher level of detachment from parents. Collins and Repinsky (1994) note that the amount of physical time that parents and their children spend together decreases during adolescence as well. Although there is obvious physical distancing from parents, adolescents still show a desire for high levels of support from them (Furman & Buhrmester, 1992; Noller, 1994). Representations of interactions with parents may, then, provide a support base for adolescents. Hill, Fonagy, Safier, and Sargent (2003) state that communication in the family must be, in the words of Segrin and Flora (2005), synchronized and reciprocal for optimal attachments between family members. Family Systems Theory states that there are smaller dyadic interactions that are separate from one another, but that also function within the larger family unit (Caffery & Erdman, 2000; Hill, Fonagy, Safier, & Sargent, 2003; Kreppner, 2002; Segrin & Flora, 2005). Accordingly, as adolescents develop and begin to search for autonomy and independence, there must be a response to this change by the family as a whole. Noller (1994) notes that families with adolescents are constantly and increasingly renegotiating family roles that are buffered by open and flexible communication. In addition, Allen and Land (1999) speak of the ongoing renegotiation that occurs in terms of family goals. They argue that an adolescent with secure attachment would be part of a system where goals are constantly re-set and the family members’ needs would be in sync one another. Adolescent Relationships with Mothers Versus Fathers. Doherty and Beaton (2004) explore the importance of looking at mother-child and father-child relationships 5
  • 6. both separate from one another and as dyads that interact in a system, since each relationship has different qualities that may impact later outcomes. As shown with the research on concordance, children can sometimes have differing attachments to mothers and fathers. In addition, children start to experience their relationships with their mothers and fathers in differing ways. Observing parent-infant interactions while playing, Leaper (2000) found that play with mother and father differed, according to both gender of parent and of child. This suggests that each parent contributes differently to children’s development and, importantly, points toward the differing influence that parents have on social outcomes, sparking interest in exploring mothers and fathers impact on children’s outcomes. Adolescents have been brought up spending more time with, and engage in more open sharing of emotion, with mothers than with fathers (Laursen & Collins, 2004). Paterson, Field, and Pryor (1994) supported earlier research that points toward the importance of mothers for attachment related outcomes in adolescence. Specifically, adolescents reported higher levels of the quality of affect toward their mothers than fathers (e.g. Youniss & Smollar, 1985). Leiberman, Doyle, and Markiewicz (1999) also found that perceived maternal availability is important across the transition from childhood to adolescence, and the quality of the mother-adolescent relationship is strongly linked to attachment security as well (Allen et al., 2003). Allen and colleagues found that maternal behaviors, such as support and attunement, predicted security in the mother-adolescent relationship. Additionally, they found that 9th and 10th graders who were more securely attached were better able to intellectually and emotionally use their strong relationship with their mother as a base for exploration and autonomy. More recent research has shown that older children differ in their utilization of mother and father as well as the quality of affect toward mother and father. For example, Hunter and Youniss (1982) and Paterson, Field, and Pryor (1994) found that adolescents rely on mothers for support more than their fathers. This might be because of expectations about the roles of their mother and father that have become ingrained in the adolescent. Consequently, a child’s mother and father are two different people who interact with and influence their children in distinctive ways. As shown, it is obvious that a strong bond exists between mothers and adolescents, however the importance that the father plays in the child’s life should not be overlooked. Recent research suggests that fathers also are significant attachment figures for adolescents (e.g. Williams & Kelly, 2005). It has been shown that the father- adolescent relationship is related to several attachment constructs; specifically, warmth, closeness and availability (Cabrrera, Tamis-LeMonda, Bradley, Hofferth, & Lamb, 2000), and attachment to father significantly predicts friendship conflict for adolescents (Lieberman, Doyle, & Markiewicz, 1999). Adolescent-father attachment impacts adolescent adjustment in a different way than does mother-adolescent attachment. Williams and Kelly (2005) compared both mother-adolescent and father-adolescent relationships, finding that although there were more secure mother-adolescent attachment relationships, the father-adolescent attachment relationship was related to adolescents’ behavioral problems. Specifically, more paternal involvement in the parenting process was related to more security of attachment. This suggests that fathers do play an important role for attachment related outcomes for adolescents. It is unquestionably important to study adolescent attachments to the fathers 6
  • 7. as well as to their mothers. Considering the importance of the reciprocal nature of the parent-adolescent attachment bond, to date, there is not much research on how mothers and fathers are attached to their adolescents. There is information about how adolescents are attached to their parents, as well as how members of the family impact one another, however the way parents are attached to their adolescents is an almost overlooked topic. Dekovic and Buist (2005) have just recently found a relationship between parental ratings of their attachment relationships with their children. It is important to explore this further, and especially, to extend this idea by looking at the patterns among the consistency of attachment between members of the same family. Adolescent-Peer Relationships Throughout development, children create emotional bonds with not only their parents, but with other individuals as well. Parent-child relationships impact social development, such as the creation of peer relationships. Hazan and Shaver (1994) state that children must create bonds with other available figures and, as development progresses, peers become extremely important attachment figures. These new peer relationships, however, look different than those with parents (e.g. Freeman & Brown, 2001; Nickerson & Nagle, 2005). For example, adolescents begin to spend less time with parents and much more time with their peers (Collins & Repinsky, 1994). Kerns (1994) argues that the forming of closer peer bonds allows adolescents to explore independence from parents. Additionally, Nickerson and Nagle (2005) found that adolescents go to their peers in times of need (proximity seeking behaviors) more than before entering this developmental period. Importantly, peer relationships exist in different settings outside the family. Thus, the relationships that children have with friends allow for furthering of social development (Savin-Williams & Berndt, 1990). Examining the quality of friendships in adolescence, Savin-Williams and Berndt (1990) stated that both positive qualities of peer relationships, such as trust and support, and negative qualities, such as jealousy and resentment, help with development in social and personal realms. Many researchers have studied correlates of positive friendships and have found relations to self-esteem (e.g. Greenberg, Siegel, & Leitch, 1983) and lower levels of loneliness (Savin-Williams & Berndt, 1990). Additionally, Weimer, Kerns, and Oldenberg (2004) found a relationship between positive friendship qualities in a best-friend dyad and security of each partner in the dyad, suggesting that those dyads with more security are made up of friends who feel better about not only the friendship but themselves as well. Better communication between dyad partners was also related to more security in the dyad, supporting the importance of communication for attachment as mentioned before, (Weimer, Kerns, and Oldenburg, 2004). As adolescents seek autonomy and independence from their parents, they turn to peers more than before (Nickerson & Nagle, 2005). Furman and Buhrmester (1992) looked at important changes in peer relationships across the transition from childhood to adolescence. Most importantly, they found that support-seeking needs are fulfilled less by parents and more by peers as childhood ends and adolescence begins. Youniss and Smollar (1985) state that this change in utilization of peers might occur because having high-quality friendships serves to fulfill the social needs that emerge in adolescence. 7
  • 8. This does not undermine the importance of the parent-adolescent relationship, but points toward a gain in importance and influence of peer relationships for positive development. Related to this, parental understanding and flexibility are related to adolescents’ friendship satisfaction and general well-being (Sillars, Koerner, & Fitzpatrick, 2005), which supports the argument that flexibility is among the most important aspects of the relationships, as it is extremely important for communication (Laursen & Collins, 2004). Relationship Between Parent and Peer Attachment Peers are central to adolescent development and social life. Because adolescents experience close bonds with peers, it is imperative to look at adolescent-peer attachments in conjunction to those with parents. Easterbrooks and Lamb (1979) found a relationship between mother-infant attachment (using Ainsworth’s Strange Situation) and peer competence at the same point in infancy by observing dyads. In another early study, Waters, Wippman, and Sroufe (1979) found that attachment in infancy was related to peer interaction at age three and a half. Specifically, competence in the peer group was predicted by attachment status, suggesting that security of attachment to parents impacts child-peer relationships. Furthermore, Furman, Simon, Shaffer, and Bouchey (2002) found that, based on Bowlby’s previous work, working models of friendships in late adolescence were related to those with parents and romantic partners. Considering these findings and the developmental trends that occur across the transition to adolescence, it seems as if, at this point, there would be a relationship between adolescent attachment to parents and to peers. Interestingly, Furman, Simon, Shaffer, and Bouchy also found significant differences in the attachment security status of adolescents to their parents and peers. For example, some adolescents who were classified as dismissing with their parents were classified as secure with their peers. One explanation for this was that at this point in development, some adolescents may not feel that their parents are responsive in times of need, and therefore seek this comfort from friends instead (Furman, Simon, Shaffer, & Bouchey, 2002). While attachment theory says that a person has a style of interacting with others, it is important to note that mother-child and father-child relationships are discrete. Children experience each of their different relationships uniquely and are influenced differently by their mothers and fathers. As previously existing relationships continue to be important for development of new relationships in adolescence, it becomes apparent that adolescents start to differentiate among relationships with parents and with peers (Collins & Repinsky, 1994). Montemayor and Gregg (1994) speak of identity development in adolescence and its connection to interpersonal relationships; they note that as identity develops, adolescents sees that people they relate to see them in different ways. Thus, in early adolescence one begins to fully understand relationships are distinct. As noted before, Williams and Kelly (2005) also found differences in adolescent attachment to mother and to father. Therefore, it is important to examine attachment relationships as different from one another. Interestingly, Freeman and Brown (2001) conducted a study looking at the relationship between attachment style and choice of attachment figure in adolescence. They found that, in general, parents and peers were nominated quantitatively equally, however there were nomination differences based on attachment status. Those adolescents who were more secure nominated their mother more, and those who were more insecure were more likely to nominate their peers. 8
  • 9. In a study using an early self-report attachment measure, Nickerson and Nagle (2005) found that attachment to parents and peers differed not only from one another but also across the adolescent transition. It can be strongly suggested that attachment to parents changes in some manner across this transition because communication and trust with parents decreased during these shifts (from fourth to sixth to eighth grade) in adolescence (Nickerson & Nagle, 2005). Additionally, Nickerson and Nagle found a change in the amount of reported proximity seeking and safe haven fulfillment with peers, such that, as mentioned several times before, adolescents tend to seek out friends when needed instead of their parents. Although some qualities of the parent-adolescent attachment relationship decrease while other qualities of the adolescent-peer attachment relationship increase, parents still are utilized as important attachment-figures. On the other hand, both Nickerson and Nagle and Kerns, Klepac, and Cole (1996) found that use of parents to fulfill secure base needs did not change across this transition, which suggests that as adolescents explore new relationship realms, parents still remain an important base for security. Nickerson and Nagle (2005) state that there are two views in explaining attachment to parents and peers. One view is that secure attachment in the parent-child relationship might allow for felt security in other relationships. On the other hand, insecure attachment in the parent-child relationships might foster the desire to find security elsewhere. Currently, the majority of research on peer attachment in adolescence examines the relationship between attachment and well-being. Few studies examine how adolescents are attached to their mother, father and peers and the relationship that exists between these different attachments. Dimensions of Attachment The concept of a secure base seems to exist across all stages in development (Armsden & Greenberg, 1987; Caffery & Erdman, 2000). Especially in adolescence, when exploration and autonomy from parents in both a physical and a psychological manner marks the adolescent transition, the presence and availability of attachment figures is crucial (e.g. Allen & Land, 1999). Therefore, the behaviors of attachment used to describe infant attachments should be related to attachment in adolescence. Hazan and Shaver (1994) state that in adult romantic relationships, the most important aspect of the relationship that relates to attachment is for each person to act as a “reliable haven of safety.” In adolescence, this idea translates to the support, warmth and comfort that attachment figures can provide. Separation protest is another behavioral aspect of very early attachments that translates to adolescence. For example, because of cognitive gains, a more complex understanding of separation will have implications for attachment relationships when faced with more permanent separations, such as death. According to Armsden and Greenberg (1987) there are three underlying constructs of attachment that exist: communication, trust and alienation. The majority of research pertaining to these three constructs focuses on communication and the relationship between communication and attachment. Little research exists that examines the relationship between both trust and attachment and alienation and communication. Communication. Bidirectional communication among parents and children has been the focus of the majority of research in this area. More specifically, Segrin and Flora (2005) argue that reciprocity, defined as mutual communication exchanges that are knowingly available, and synchrony, defined as communication that occurs in a 9
  • 10. harmonious fashion, are aspects of communication that help create strong emotional bonds between parents and children in infancy. Moreover, these strong parent-child relationship exchanges are important throughout life. In infancy, children seek proximity and comfort when they sense danger. Adolescents seek proximity and comfort in the form of advice when they feel it is needed (Hazan & Shaver, 1994; Schneider & Younger, 1996). Therefore, communication may be extremely important in adolescence. During adolescence, the parent-child relationship depends on closeness, which is established and sustained from earlier stages, and conflict, which helps the adolescent distance, in a psychological sense, from the parents (Laursen & Collins, 2004). Additionally, openness between parents and adolescents is related to having a “positive emotional climate” (Arnold, Pratt, & Hicks, 2004). More open communication allows for understanding during a time of such important transition and changes, specifically in terms of acceptance of the new needs and desires adolescents face (Sillars, Koerner, & Fitzpatrick, 2005). The ability of parents and children to communicate with one another is related to security of attachment. For example, attachment security is related to better connectedness of communication in the mother-child relationship (Freitag, Belsky, Grossmann, Grossmann, & Scheuerer-English, 1996). Freitag, Belsky, Grossmann, Grossmann, and Scheuerer-English (1996) investigated the connection between attachment and communication across infancy and middle childhood. They conducted a cross cultural study that paralleled previous ones conducted in the United States, finding an organization in the parent-child relationship that is related to both attachment and communication. Additionally, the authors refer to Bowlby’s work on the “partnership” relationship that exists between parent and child. The present study will examine the role that both the father-child and the mother-child relationships play in adolescent attachment because these relationships co-exist in the family. The study conducted by Freitag and colleagues (1996) looked at infancy through middle childhood, leaving adolescence unexplored, as with much of the research. Communication between parents and children changes as the child passes through different developmental stages (Arnold, Pratt & Hicks, 2004; Laursen & Collins, 2004). Laursen and Collins (2004) speak of communication trends in families, mentioning that specifically in adolescence, the family unit functions based on prior interactions and communication patterns, but its members are able to re-evaluate and adapt their communication to allow for the adolescent’s changes. Since Freitag and colleagues show the connection between attachment security and communication across infancy and middle childhood, and it is known that families that communicate better are better able to deal with developmental transitions, it seems as if these communication patterns should persist across the transition to adolescence as well. This suggests that the better the communication between parents and children in adolescence, the more a sense of felt security should exist across developmental transitions. Beginning in infancy, parent- child communication creates a foundation for communication with others across the lifespan (Bowlby, 1988; Segrin & Flora, 2005). Kreppner and Ullrich (1998) studied communication across the transition from childhood to adolescence. They found that after grouping adolescents into different attachment style categories (secure, habitual, and ambivalent), differences in communication existed within the family unit. Specifically, secure adolescents showed 10
  • 11. less “silence” in their communication with parents than the other groups, and the secure group also showed higher levels of expressed closeness with mothers. Kreppner and Ullrich also found differences in adolescent communication with mother and father. Interestingly, those adolescents in the secure group exhibited more distant behavior from fathers, and higher levels of expressed closeness with fathers was seen with the habitual and ambivalent groups. The secure group, however, displayed both “very high” and “very low” expression of closeness with their fathers. Therefore, more variation in communication may lead an adolescent to be able to adjust levels of communication as needed; specifically, since one of the major developmental shifts in adolescence is that of autonomy and individuation, being able to shift the amount of closeness and distance is optimal. Trust. The second dimension of trust can be defined as the secure feelings and beliefs that another person will fulfill certain needs (Armsden & Greenberg, 1987). Trust is a product of strong relationships, specifically those in which relationship partners feel that they can depend upon one another (Collins & Repinsky, 1994). Furthermore, trust is one component of a strong relationship between children and their attachment figures, as it is seen that children build trust in relationships by learning that others are consistently there for them. The secure base phenomenon emphasizes the knowledge of availability of the attachment figure in times of need. In other words, a representation of the ability to trust the attachment figure exists because of positive past situations related to trust. Noller (1994) also states that trustworthiness, as well as closeness, is an extremely important quality of relationships. According to Savin-Williams and Berndt (1990) one of the major qualities of a strong peer relationship is trust. Additionally, Hazan and Shaver (1994) argue that, during adolescence, peer attachments begin with such proximity seeking behaviors. No matter whom the attachment figure is, adolescents want to feel that they are close to, and can trust, those with whom they have relationships (Noller, 1994). Alienation. The third dimension of attachment, alienation, is closely related to avoidance and rejection, two constructs that are very important to security of attachment. When one senses that the attachment figure is not available, attachment becomes less secure, possibly based on feelings of alienation. Surprisingly, given the importance of the alienation dimension, no research on the relationship between alienation and attachment exists. It is therefore important to explore the relationship that feelings of alienation have to attachment. Summary Attachment theory emphasizes the importance of the emotional bonds in relationships. It has been shown that parents play an important role as attachment figures for their children. Taking into account the developmental changes that occur in adolescence, it also has been found that parent and adolescent roles change as adolescents strive for more autonomy and individuation (Segrin & Flora, 2005). Most importantly, secure adolescents have been found to be more able to explore their environment and achieve more independence (Lauren & Collins, 2004). It also has been shown that as children transition through adolescence, peers become important figures as well as parents. Some of the research reviewed (e.g. Nickerson & Nagle, 2005) suggests a smooth transition into the larger social world of adolescence when there is security within 11
  • 12. the parent-child relationship, which then is related to more security in relationships that follow the adolescent outside of the home. There are, however, inconsistencies in the literature as to the patterns in attachment across different attachment figures (e.g. Lewis, Ferin & Rosenthal, 2000; Main & Weston, 1981), giving merit to the present study. Attachment theorists examine attachment behaviors and representations across the lifespan. Most of the attachment literature, however, focuses on infancy (e.g. Fox, Kimmerly, & Schafer, 1991; Easterbrooks, 1989), childhood (e.g. Kerns, Klepac, & Cole, 1996) and adulthood (e.g. Hazan & Zeifman, 1999), with much less research examining attachment in adolescence. Nonetheless, adolescence marks a significant period of transition. Therefore it is important to examine attachment during such an important period as well. Research that examines adolescence typically concerns continuity of attachment from infancy (e.g. Sfroufe & Waters, 1977) or attachment to the mother only (e.g. Allen et al., 2003). There is even less research on adolescent attachment to fathers and peers. The first objective of the present study will explore the patterns of adolescent attachment to their mothers, fathers and peers. Since almost no studies of attachment in adolescence look at how relationships with all three figures relate to one another, this study is among the first to do so. Considering the lack of research and understanding of this interaction, specific hypotheses are not projected. The second objective is to examine similarities within mother and adolescent ratings of one another and father and adolescent ratings of one another. Again, because this is a new topic among attachment researchers, this study will explore relations without projecting specific hypotheses. Method This study is part of a larger project, which examines family narratives and adolescent identity. Only those methods related to the present project will be discussed. Sample Twenty-four families with either an 8th grade or a 10th grade adolescent participated in the study. Families were recruited through various sources such as schools and religious groups (e.g. church), as well as with fliers that were dispersed to both participating families and around a university. To be included in the study, families had to have two parents living in the home, either biological parents, step parents, or adoptive parents. Most families had other children living in the household as well. Families typically had between one and four total children living in the household. Thirteen families identified themselves as Caucasian, 10 as African American, and one as Hispanic. Nineteen families were described as traditional (both biological parents living in the home) and three as blended (one biological parent and one non-biological parent living in the home). Out of the 24 families, two adolescents were adopted (both in infancy). Ten adolescents were female (mean age 14.6) and 14 were male (mean age 14.5). At the time of the study, ten adolescents were in 8th grade (mean age 13.4) and 14 were in 10th grade (mean age 15.4). All parents gave signed consent and all adolescents gave signed assent as approved by the Emory University Institutional Review Board. For participating in the study, families were compensated $50, and adolescents were given two movie tickets and a $25 gift certificate. Procedure 12
  • 13. A female researcher visited the family’s home on two separate occasions. During the visit, several narratives were collected from the mother and adolescent as part of the larger study. In addition, questionnaire packets were left for both the mother and adolescent to complete separately. Another questionnaire packet was left for the father to complete as well. The researcher briefly explained the questionnaires. Participants were asked to complete all questionnaires, although they were told that questions may be skipped if there is any reason to do so, although this was not encouraged. Typically within two weeks, the same researcher returned to the home and collected the questionnaires. Measure Inventory of Parent and Peer Attachment-Revised (IPPA: Armsden & Greenberg, 1987). Each adolescent was asked to complete the IPPA, a self-report questionnaire that includes 25 items that were designed to measure adolescent attachment to parent (mother), adolescent attachment to parent (father) and adolescent attachment to friends (peers). The measure assesses both positive and negative affective and cognitive dimensions related to attachment. As discussed in the introduction, the three dimensions used to measure attachment are communication, trust and alienation. The communication dimension is measured with 10 items. For example: “If my mother/father/friends knows something is bothering me, he/she asks me.” The trust dimension is measured with nine items. For example: “My mother/father/friends respects my feelings.” The alienation dimension is measured with six items. For example: “I don’t get much attention from my mother/father/friends.” The adolescent is asked to complete each set of questions in relation to their mother, their father and their peers. Questions are answered on a 5-point Likert scale, ranging from “Almost Never or Never True” to “Almost Always or Always True.” Using two samples of adolescents, ages ranging from 16 to 20, Armsden and Greenberg (1987) found good internal reliability for the IPPA, with Chronbach’s alphas .87 for mother attachment, .89 for father attachment and .92 for peer attachment. A three-week test-retest reliability of .93 for parent attachment and .86 for peer attachment was also found (Armsden & Greenberg, 1987). The IPPA also has good construct validity. It has been found to be related to other measures, such as the Family Self-Concept (r = 0.78 with parent attachment; r = 0.28 with peer attachment) and Social Self-Concept (r = 0.46 with parent attachment; r = 0.57 with peer attachment) subscales of the Tennessee Self-Concept Scale and to several subscales of the Family Environmental Scale (FES) (Armsden and Greenberg, 1987). Specifically, parent attachment was positively related to Cohesion (r = 0.56), Expressiveness (r = 0.52) and Organization (r = 0.38), and was negatively related to Conflict (r = -0.36) and Control (r = -0.20) (Armsden & Greenberg, 1987). In addition to asking adolescents to complete the IPPA for their relationships with their mother, father and peers, each parent was asked to complete the related version of the same questionnaire to allow for exploration of parent’s attachment to their adolescents. Johnson, Ketring and Abshire (2003) revised the original IPPA to be used for this purpose. This questionnaire consists of 10 questions for the communication dimension, seven for the trust dimension and 5 for the alienation dimension. Several items were re-written in order to allow parents to answer the question based on their relationship with their children. For example, the original question, “I tell my 13
  • 14. mother/father/friends about my problems and troubles,” was changed to, “I talk to my child about my difficulties.” Additionally, several items were deleted from the original version, such as, “My mother/father/friends doesn’t understand what I’m going through theses days,” and several additions were made, such as, “I am constantly yelling and fighting with my child.” Reliability for the different dimensions were between alpha = . 72 and alpha = .95 (Johnson, Ketring & Abshire, 2003). The revised version of the IPPA was also correlated with other measures looking at variables related to attachment (Johnson, Ketring & Abshire, 2003). Scoring Each dimension of the IPPA (trust, communication and alienation) yields a separate score, and is scored separately. Several questions on the trust and communication dimensions and the whole alienation dimension are reverse scored. Answers to questions for each dimension are then added together. If a question is skipped, the mean of the answered questions is then added as the score for the skipped question. All three dimensions are also totaled to create a total attachment score dimension. The mean for each dimension is computed and used for analyses. Because several fathers were not available to complete the IPPA, any analyses that include father ratings of attachment to adolescent were only conducted with scores from 19 families.iii Results Results are discussed in two sections. The first section examines how male and female adolescents rate their attachment to parents and peers as well as how mothers and fathers rate their attachment to their adolescents. The second part examines the relations among attachment ratings that address the specific objectives of the study. Differences among attachment ratings Table 1 displays the mean ratings (and standard deviations) adolescents gave on each dimension to mother, father and peers. To look at the differences between adolescent ratings of mother, father and peers on all dimensions, a 2 (grade) X 2 (gender) X 3 (person) X 4 (dimension) Mixed-Model Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was conducted with grade and gender as between subject factors and person and dimension as within subject factors. There was a main effect of person (F(2,40) = 7.56, p < .01) and a main effect of dimension (F(3,60) = 9.13, p < .001), as well as a person by dimension interaction (F(6,120) = 8.282, p < .001). No other main effects or interactions reached significance. Therefore, 2 (grade) X 2 (gender) X 3 (person) ANOVAs were conducted for each dimension separately. There were no main effects or interactions on the trust dimension. There was, however, a main effect of person on the communication dimension (F(2, 40) = 17.10, p < .001), the alienation dimension (F(2, 40) = 18.59, p < . 001), and the total attachment score (F(2, 40) = 475.39, p < .001). In order to examine the main effects for the communication, alienation and the total attachment score dimensions, follow-up paired-sample t-test comparing ratings of pairs of attachment figures (see Table 1) were conducted. On the communication dimension, there was a significant difference between adolescent ratings of fathers and peers (t(23) = -6.40, p < .001), mothers and peers (t(23) = -3.75, p < .001) and mothers and fathers (t(23) = 2.27, p < .05). Peers were rated higher than both fathers and mothers, 14
  • 15. and mothers were rated higher than fathers. On the alienation dimension there was a significant difference between adolescent ratings of mothers and fathers (t(23) = 2.85, p < .01) and fathers and peers (t(23) = -2.78, p < .05), such that both mothers and peers were rated higher than fathers. On the total attachment score, there was a significant difference between adolescent ratings of fathers and peers (t(23) = -4.35, p < .001) and mothers and fathers (t(23) = 2.66, p < .05). There was also a trend for adolescent ratings of mothers and peers (t(23) = -1.94, p < .10) on the total attachment score. Peers were rated higher than both fathers and mothers, and mothers were rated higher than fathers. An additional question was whether adolescents, as a group, had higher or lower ratings on attachment dimensions than did mothers or fathers. In order to examine the consistency of ratings of attachment dimensions of attachment between adolescent and mother and adolescent and father pairs, a 2 (grade) X 2 (gender) X 2 (person) ANOVA was conducted for each dimension. There were no differences on any of the dimensions of attachment between adolescent ratings of mother and mother ratings of adolescent (see Table 2). Additionally, there were no differences on the communication dimension between adolescent ratings of father and father ratings of adolescent (see Table 2). There was a three-way interaction between person, gender and grade on the trust dimension (F(1,15) = 7.42, p < .05) and total attachment score (F(1,15) = 5.09, p < .05) dimensions between adolescent ratings of father and father ratings of adolescent. On the alienation dimension, there was a trend between adolescent ratings of father and father ratings of adolescent (F(1,15) = 3.69, p < .10), such that fathers rated their adolescents higher than adolescents rated their fathers. To explore the three-way interactions on the trust and total attachment score dimensions, because the frequencies were low, interaction was graphed instead of conducting a follow-up t-test (see Figures 1 and 2). The 8th grade boys rated fathers higher than their fathers rated them on both the trust and total attachment score dimensions. The 8th grade girls rated fathers higher than their fathers rated them on both the trust and total attachment score dimensions. Relations among attachment relationships In order to examine individual differences among the attachment dimensions, Pearson’s r correlations were conducted. Table 3 displays the correlations among adolescent ratings of mother, father and peers. There were significant positive relations between adolescent ratings of mother and father on the trust, communication, alienation and total attachment score dimensions. There was also a significant positive correlation between adolescent ratings of father and peers for the communication dimension, however there were no significant relations between adolescent ratings of father and peers on the other dimensions, nor on any of the dimensions for adolescent ratings of mother and peers. Table 4 displays the similarity of adolescent and mother ratings of one another and father and adolescent ratings of one another. There was a significant positive correlation between adolescent and mother ratings of one another for the trust dimension as well as the total attachment score. There was a positive correlation approaching significance between adolescent and father ratings of one another for the communication dimension. All other dimensions for both pairs were not significantly related. As an exploratory analysis, the concordance between mother and father ratings of adolescents was examined and is displayed in Table 5. There was a significant positive 15
  • 16. correlation between mother and father ratings of adolescents for the trust and alienation dimensions. The communication dimension and the total attachment score were not significantly related. Discussion The present study examined patterns of attachment during adolescence. Because adolescence is such a crucial point in development, especially as it is related to social transitions, it is imperative that we understand how attachment looks in adolescence. Specifically, patterns in adolescent attachment to mothers, fathers and peers were explored, and the similarity between parent and adolescent ratings of attachment to one another was examined. Findings and interpretations for each of these questions will be discussed, as well as limitations of the study and implications for future research Adolescents showed different levels of attachment to different figures. Specifically, peers were rated higher than mothers, and both peers and mothers were rated higher than fathers on both the communication dimension and the total attachment score. Mother and peers, rated equally on the alienation dimension, were both rated higher than fathers. Schneider and Younger (1996) and Hazan and Shaver (1994) find that adolescents seek comfort from people who are most accessible. Supporting the argument by Collins and Repinsky (2004), at this point in development, mothers may be those in the family who are most easily accessible to satisfy these needs. As previously found by Paterson, Field, and Pryor (2004), adolescents tend to rely on their mothers more than their fathers when in need of comfort and support. Therefore, present findings suggest that mothers may be more accessible to adolescents than fathers inside the home, an explanation for fathers being rated lowest. It may be that because adolescents feel less alienated from their mothers than their fathers, they rate their communication higher and feel more secure attachment to their mothers as well. Additionally, in general mothers and adolescents rated one another similarly, whereas fathers and adolescents did not. In other words, mothers and adolescents both reported similar levels of ratings of attachment to one another, whereas fathers reported higher levels of ratings of attachment to their adolescents than their adolescents did to them. This suggests that fathers perceive their relationships as stronger than how adolescents perceive the relationship, but that adolescents and mothers perceive the strength of their relationships similarly. Interestingly, adolescents are more open with their mothers than their fathers on an emotional level (Larusen & Collins, 2004). It may be that, because of the level of availability in the mother-adolescent relationship, adolescents feel more comfort and support from their mother. Fathers, on the other hand, may be less available to satisfy their adolescents’ needs, yet receive a certain comfort and support from their adolescents. Importantly, peers were rated highest for several dimensions, supporting previous research on the topic (Furman & Buhrmester, 1992; Nickerson & Nagle, 2005). Amount of time spent with peers increases across adolescence (Collins & Repinsky, 1994). As with mothers verses fathers, peers may be more readily available for satisfying needs of comfort and support. The present findings, therefore, support Hazan and Shaver’s (1994) argument that children create stronger bonds with those who are available attachment figures, which also may explain why peers tended to be rated highest. These findings fit 16
  • 17. with existing knowledge of adolescent development. As adolescents seek autonomy from the family their peer relationships gain importance. On the other hand, adolescents continue to desire support from their parents (Freeman & Brown, 2001). Therefore, an explanation of the present findings, integrating that adolescents rate both peers and mothers high, is that adolescents develop more social needs, which lead them to seek out peers for comfort, but still need support from a strong home base. Regarding adolescent ratings of attachment between mothers and fathers, findings suggest that there is concordance on how adolescents feel about their relationship with their mother and their father. Overall, adolescent ratings of mothers and fathers were related on all dimensions, such that those adolescents who are rating attachment to their mothers high are also rating attachment to their fathers high on the trust, communication and alienation dimensions as well as on the total attachment score. The strong relation between adolescent ratings of mothers and fathers suggests that adolescents generalize across parental relationships and may view parents as a “unit.” This idea supports the basic tenet of attachment theory. The internal working model of attachment originally presented by Bowlby (1969) suggests that relationships with attachment figures are represented mentally, based on past experiences, and that these ideas and expectations may then mold into a general style of attachment. Additionally, several researchers have found high concordance rates between infant attachment to their mother and father (Easterbrooks, 1989; Fox, Kimmerly, & Schafer, 1991). Although this study is not longitudinal, when taking into account the research on concordance in infancy, findings of concordance suggest that children mentally represent relationships with their parents based on earlier points in the relationships. In other words, this study suggests that Bowlby was correct; that there is, in fact, an internal working model of attachment. At a minimum, however, this study supports the notion that, at this point in development, adolescents are able to generalize attachment across their relationships with both parents. Surprisingly, however, this study did not find relations among adolescents attachment to parents and peers. As reviewed, previous studies (e.g. Easterbrooks & Lamb, 1979; Waters, Wippman, & Sroufe, 1979) have found relationships between attachment to mother and peers in infancy and childhood. Additionally, Laible, Carlo, and Roesch (2004) found a relationship between attachment to parents and peers using the IPPA. The study by Laible and colleagues suggests that adolescent’s representations of their relationships are generalized across those with parents and peers, an important developmental milestone socially. The study by Laible and colleagues, however, used an older sample (mean age 18.6 years), which might suggest that the younger sample in the present study has already generalized across parental relationships but not yet across all relationships, such as those with peers. Interestingly, another study by Laible and colleagues (2000), conducted with a sample of 16 year olds, showed similar findings to the present study in terms of correlations among attachment to parents and peers. Again, it may be that at this point in development, adolescents are just beginning to generalize across attachment figures. Research on friendships shows that across adolescence, peers are sought out in times of need more than before. As found in this study, peers do gain importance in adolescence, shown by findings that, in general, adolescents are rating attachment to their peers highest. It may be that early adolescents are using their peers to satisfy certain needs that are different than those that they seek out their parents for. Since adolescence is a time 17
  • 18. for identity development (Erikson, 1968), adolescents typically strive for more autonomy from their parents and more inclusion and acceptance into social realms. Therefore, during this transition, adolescents may not yet be able to generalize across all relationships, but do rely on several different relationships for comfort and support. Future research should attempt to find what variables allow for the generalizing of attachment across figures and when, exactly, this occurs. An additional question addressed in the study was the similarity between adolescent and parental ratings of attachment of one another. When comparing adolescents’ ratings of their mothers with mothers’ ratings of their adolescents, mothers and adolescents rated one another similarly on the trust dimension as well as the total attachment score. In comparing similarities in how adolescents rated their fathers and how fathers rated their adolescents, fathers and adolescents rated one another similarly on the communication dimension. Laursen and Collins (2004) argue that more time is spent with mothers than with fathers and, more importantly, that there is more sharing of emotions with mothers as well. Other researchers have also found relations between quality of the mother-adolescent relationship and attachment security (Allen et al., 2003), and perceived maternal availability (Leiberman, Doyle, & Markiewicz, 1999). In these stronger, higher-quality relationships, there may also be higher levels of trust between mothers and their adolescents. Additionally, Benoit and Parker (1994) have found that secure mothers tend to have secure children. Therefore, it may be that mothers who are available, specifically emotionally, are those who have children who perceive them to be this way, as well as feel as if their children are able to satisfy some of their emotional needs. Fathers and adolescents perceived one another similarly on the communication dimension. Possible reasons for this finding are not immediately apparent, particularly given the findings that fathers and adolescents, generally, are not rating their relationships the same. Drawing upon findings by Kreppner and Ullrich (1998) that variability in communication among fathers and adolescents is related to security of attachment, it may be that communication within the father-adolescent pair helps foster a better relationship. Williams and Kelly (2005) also suggest that paternal involvement is related to adolescent attachment. Additionally, mothers and fathers play with and influence their children differently (Leaper, 2000). Therefore, relationships with both mothers and fathers are important during the adolescent transition; however, as the previous research and the present findings suggest, each relationship has its unique qualities and different impact on adolescent development. Whereas, findings indicate that relations within the mother-adolescent and father- adolescent relationships exists on different dimensions, these dimensions are all related to one another. Many researchers find that communication in the parent-infant and parent- child relationship is related to infant and child attachment security (e.g. Freitag, Belsky, Grossmann, Grossmann, & Scheuerer-English, 1996), such that secure relationships tend to be more communicative, especially in open and emotional ways. Because of the dyadic nature of communication and trust, and the findings that parental involvement is related to adolescent attachment (Williams & Kelly, 2005), it is the communication and trust in the parent-adolescent relationship that allows for adolescents to feel close to their parents and, just as important, parents to feel close to their adolescents. Finding some similarity in ratings of attachment to one another in both the mother-adolescent and father- 18
  • 19. adolescent relationships suggests these relationships may begin to becoming more reciprocal, as suggested by other researchers (Laursen & Collins, 2004). Lastly, there was concordance between mother and father ratings of attachment to their adolescent. This finding makes sense in terms of Family Systems Theory, which argues that the family functions as a whole unit as well as separate dyadic units, which all interact (Kreppner, 2002). The concordance between all three dyadic relationships (mother-adolescent, father-adolescent and mother-father) indicates that these attachment relationships are not independent of one another. It may be that through these interactions, as a whole family as well as separate dyads, comes the creation of a household “climate.” Other researchers have also argued that families interact as a whole, creating a family style of interacting (Arnold, Pratt, & Hicks, 2004; Kreppner, 2002). These findings contribute to the importance of furthering research on the whole family in addition to its separate members and dyads when trying to explain how families interact and impact one another. Limitations There are several limitations to the present study that warrant attention. First, although there is a good amount of variability in the demographics of the sample, sample size is fairly small. Any general conclusions drawn about attachment in adolescence must be taken with the understanding that the sample size limits the power of findings. Families also had some knowledge that the overall study was about family relationships; therefore there may be specific qualities possessed by the families that would lead them to participate in such a study. Additionally, the IPPA is a self-report questionnaire and may yield answers that are biased. There is the possibility that reported answers may reflect a certain level of social, or even family, desirability. There is some controversy in the literature about using self-report measures for attachment. Since attachment is thought to be a mental representation of one’s emotional bonds and past experiences in relationships, it is thought that the best way to measure attachment is through narratives that tap into the implicit representations in the mind (for a review different measures of attachment, see Crowell, Fraley, & Shaver, 1999; Lyddon, Bradford, & Nelson, 1993; Shaver & Mikulincer, 2004). Unquestionably, though, the IPPA does measure variables that are related to important aspects of the quality of relationships and, importantly, that are related to attachment. Lastly, this study does not yield data that speaks toward causality; therefore only relational conclusions can be drawn. Nonetheless, this study has shown that there are specific patterns of attachment in adolescence, however more research is needed to further understand these patterns. By adolescence, there is the capability to generalize across relationships, however it is still unclear to what extent this occurs during early adolescence. Adolescents also have different relationships with each parent, yet these relationships seem to be highly related to one another in regard to attachment dimensions. It is extremely important to explore how these relationships work together in a family unit and, just as important, to explore how relations inside the family impact the adolescent’s extra-familial relationships. The present study demonstrates the existing complexities of the adolescent period and the transitions that occur at this time in development, with hopes to spark more curiosity and exploration about relationships within and outside of the family during adolescence. Conclusively, parents are obviously still important figures in their adolescents’ lives, 19
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  • 22. J. Cassidy & P. Shaver (Eds.), Handbook of attachment: Theory, research and clinical implications (pp. 336-354). New York: Guilford Press. Hill, J., Fonagy, P., Safier, E., & Sargent, J. (2003). The ecology of attachment in the family. Family Process, 42, 205-221. Hunter, F. T., & Youniss J. (1982). Changes in functions of three relations during adolescence. Developmental Psychology, 18, 806-811. Johnson, L. N., Ketring, S. A., & Abshire, C. (2003). The revised inventory of parent and peer attachment: Measuring attachment in families. Contemporary Family Therapy: An International Journal, 25, 333-349. Karen, R. (1994). Becoming attached: First relationships and how they shape our capacity to love. New York: Oxford University Press. Kerns, K. A. (1994). A developmental model of the relations between mother-child attachment and friendship. In R. Erber & R. Gilmour (Eds.), Theoretical frameworks for personal relationships (pp. 129-156). Hillsdale, England: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Kerns, K. A., Klepac, L., & Cole, A. K. (1996). Peer relationships and preadolescents’ perceptions of security in the child-mother relationship. Developmental Psychology, 32, 457-466. Kreppner, K. (2002). Retrospect and prospect in the psychological study of families as systems. In J. McHale & W. Grolnick (Eds.), Retrospect and prospect in the psychological study of families (pp. 225-257). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Kreppner, K., & Ullrich, M. (1998). Talk to mom and dad and listen to what is in between: A differential approach to family communication and its impact on adolescent development. In M. Hoffer, J. Youniss, & P. Noack (Eds.), Verbal interaction and development in families with adolescents (pp. 83-108). Westport, CT: Ablex Publishing. Laible, D. J., Carlo, G., & Rafaelli, M. (2000). The differential relations of parent and peer attachment to adolescent adjustment. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 29, 45-59. Laible, D. J., Carlo, G., & Roesch, S. C. (2004). Pathways to self esteem in late adolescence: The role of parent and peer attachment, empathy, and social behaviours. Journal of Adolescence, 27, 703-716. Laursen, B., & Collins, W. A. (2004). Parent-child communication during adolescence. In A. L. Vangelistsi (Ed.), Handbook of family communication (pp. 333-348). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Leaper, C. (2000). Gender, affiliation, assertion, and the interactive context of parent- child play. Developmental Psychology, 36, 381-393. Lieberman, M., Doyle, A., & Markiewicz, D. (1999). Developmental patterns in security of attachment to mother and father in late childhood and early adolescence: Associations with peer relations. Child Development, 70, 202-213. Lewis, M., Feiring, C., & Rosenthal, S. (2000). Attachment over time. Child Development, 71, 707-720. Lyddon, W. J., Bradford, E., & Nelson, J. P. (1993). Assessing adolescent and adult attachment: A review of current self-report measures. Journal of Counseling and Development, 71, 390-395. 22
  • 23. Main, M., & Weston, D. R. (1981). The quality of the toddler’s relationship to mother and father: Related to conflict behavior and the readiness to establish new relationships. Child Development, 52, 932-940. Montemayor, R., & Gregg, V. R. (1994). Current theory and research on personal relationships during adolescence. In R. Montemayor, G. Adams, & T. Gullotta (Eds.), Personal relationships in adolescence (pp. 236-245). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Nickerson, A. B., & Nagle, R. J. (2005). Parent and peer attachment in late childhood and early adolescence. Journal of Early Adolescence, 23, 223-249. Noller, P. (1994). Relationships with parents in adolescence: Process and outcome. In R. Montemayor, G. Adams, & T. Gullotta (Eds.), Personal relationships during adolescence (pp. 33-77). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Paterson, J. E., Field, J., & Pryor, J. (1994). Adolescents’ perceptions of their attachment relationships with their mothers, father, and friends. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 23, 579-600. Ryan, R. M., & Lynch, J. H. (1989). Emotional autonomy versus detachment: Revisiting the vicissitudes of adolescence and young adulthood. Child Development, 60, 340-356. Savin-Williams, R. C., & Berndt, T. J. (1990). Friendship and peer relations. In S. Feldman & G. Elliott (Eds.), Friendships and peer relations (pp. 277-307). Oxford: England: John Wiley & Sons. Schneider, B. H., & Younger, A. J. (1996). Adolescent-parent attachment and adolescents’ relations with their peers: A closer look. Youth and Society, 28, 95-108. Segrin, C., & Flora, J. (2005). Family Communications. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erhlbaum Associates. Shaver, P. R., & Mikulincer, M. (2004). What do self-report attachment measure assess? In W. S. Rholes & J. A. Simpson (Eds.), Adult attachment: Theory, research and clinical implications, (pp. 17-54). New York: Guilford Publications. Sillars, A., Koerner, A., & Fitzpatrick, M. A. (2005). Communication and understanding in parent-adolescent relationships. Human Communication Research, 31, 102-128. Sroufe, L. A., & Waters, E. (1977). Attachment as an organizational construct. Child Development, 48, 1184-1199. Thompson, R. A. (2000). The legacy of early attachments. Child Development, 71, 145-152. Waters, E., Hamilton, C. E., & Weinfield, N. S. (2000). The stability of attachment security from infancy to adolescence and early adulthood: General discussion. Child Development, 71, 678-683. Waters, E., Merrick, S., Treboux, D., Crowell, J., & Albershein, L. (2000). Attachment security in infancy and early adulthood: A twenty-year longitudinal study. Child Development, 71, 684-689. Waters, E., Wippman, J., & Sroufe, I. A. (1979). Attachment, positive affect, and competence in the peer group: two studies in construct validation. Child Development, 50, 821-829. Weimer, B. L., Kerns, K. A., & Oldenburg, C. M. (2003). Adolescents’ interactions with 23
  • 24. a best friend: Associations with attachment style. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 88, 102-120. Williams, S. K., & Kelly, F. D. (2005). Relationships among involvement, attachment, and behavioral problems in adolescence: Examining father’s influence. Journal of Early Adolescence, 25, 168-196. Younis J., and Smollar, J. (1985). Adolescents’ relationships with mothers, fathers and friends. Chicago, Illinois: University of Chicago Press. Table 1. Means (standard deviations) for adolescent ratings of attachment by person and dimension of attachment. Ratings by person Mother Father Peers Dimensions (range 1-5) Trust 4.3 (.77) 4.1 (.80) 4.2 (.61) Communication 3.7 (.78) 3.3 (.91) 4.4 (.57) Alienation 3.9 (.72) 3.4 (.97) 4.0 (.43) Total 4.0 (.65) 3.6 (.74) 4.3 (.44) Table 2. Means (standard deviations) for attachment ratings between mothers and adolescents and fathers and adolescents by dimension of attachment. Ratings by person Adolescent Mother to Adolescent Father to to Mother Adolescent to Father Adolescent 24
  • 25. Dimensions (range 1-5) Trust 4.3 (.77) 4.2 (.48) 4.1 (.80) 4.1 (.52) Communication 3.7 (.78) 3.7 (.44) 3.3 (.91) 3.6 (.48) Alienation 3.9 (.72) 3.9 (.56) 3.4 (.97) 3.9 (.80) Total 4.0 (.65) 3.9 (.40) 3.6 (.74) 3.9 (.52) Table 3. Correlations of adolescents ratings of attachment to each person by dimension of attachment. Ratings by person Mother and Father Mother and Peers Father and Peers Dimensions Trust .463* .084 .148 Communication .429* .135 .410* Alienation .505* .261 -.009 Total .492* .139 .270 * p < .05, ** p < .01 Table 4. Correlations of attachment ratings between mother and adolescent and father and adolescent by dimension of attachment. Ratings by person 25
  • 26. Mother and Adolescent Father and Adolescent Dimensions Trust .506* .110 Communication .248 .349+ Alienation .184 .261 Total .488* .179 + p < .10, * p < .05, ** p < .01 Table 5. Correlations of attachment ratings to adolescent between mother and father by dimension of attachment. Ratings by person Mother and Father Dimensions Trust .522* Communication .048 Alienation .536* Total .381 * p < .05, ** p < .01 26
  • 27. Figure 1. Means for ratings of attachment between father and adolescent, by grade and gender of adolescent, for the trust dimension. Male Female Gender and Grade of Adolescent 5 4.5 4 3.5 Value of Ratings 3 2.5 Adolescent to Father Father to Adolescent 2 1.5 1 0.5 0 8th 10th 8th 10th 27
  • 28. Figure 2. Means for ratings of attachment between father and adolescent, by grade and gender of adolescent, for total attachment score. Male Female Gender and Grade of Adolescent 5 4.5 4 3.5 Value of Ratings 3 2.5 Adolescent to Father Father to Adolescent 2 1.5 1 0.5 0 8th 10th 8th 10th 28
  • 29. i Although I will focus on these three attachment behaviors, it is necessary to note that some researchers believe there are more than three. ii Ainsworth and others consistently found a group of children who were unclassifiable. As a result, a fourth category, the disorganized/disoriented type, was introduced. Children of this classification show behaviors of both the ambivalent and avoidant types. I will not be discussing this category. iii I ran all analyses using just the 19 families, however results were not different; therefore, to obtain higher power, all analyses that did not include these father ratings of attachment to adolescent utilized all 24 original families.