Adolescents' perceived attachment to parents and its relationship to depression

Constantina Nicholas, Pace University

Abstract

Research on the relationship between one's family and well-being has shown that positive bonds serve as protective buffers and sources of throughout a lifetime. The quality of attachment buffers the child from anxiety and depression and is strongly related to feelings of well-being. Adolescents who feel strongly and positively attached perceive themselves more positively and competently than adolescents who report weaker or negative attachments with parents. The present investigation sought to understand the relationship between attachment to mothers and fathers of male and female adolescents and the relationship of attachment to depression.^ Consistent with the literature, it was hypothesized that: (1) the higher the perceived quality of maternal attachment, as measured by the Inventory for Parent and Peer Attachment (IPPA), the lower the level of depression, as measured by the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale for Children (CES-DC). (2) the higher the perceived quality of paternal attachment, the lower the level of depression. (3) females will report higher levels of depression than males.^ The study also examined differences in parenting influences based on sex of child and sex of parent. Cross validation procedures were used in order to increase the generalizability to other samples.^ Subjects were selected from a larger longitudinal study and were divided into three samples: (1) The 1990 Separated database consisted of 188 subjects; (2) The 1991 Separated database consisted of 166 subjects; and (3) a Within subject database followed from 1990 to 1991 consisted of 81 subjects. The questionnaire designed for this study consisted of Background information (including sex of subject and age), the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale for Children (CES-DC), (Weissman, Orvaschel, and Padian, 1980), and the Inventory for Parent and Peer Attachment (IPPA), (Armsden & Greenberg, 1987).^ The first hypothesis was supported in the two separated samples and in the 1990 Within Subject sample. Consistent with the literature, it was found that the higher perceived mother attachment, the lower the level of depression (CES-DC).^ The second hypothesis was also supported in the two separated samples and in the 1990 Within Subject sample. There was a positive correlation between CES-DC and father attachment.^ The third hypothesis was supported in the two separated samples and in the 1990 Within Subject sample. There was a positive correlation between CES-DC and sex with females reporting higher levels of depression than males.^ The results of multiple regressions for the 1990 Separated year was that sex and paternal attachment were significant predictors of depression. The results of multiple regressions for 1991 Separated year revealed mother attachment, sex and father attachment respectively were significant predictors of depression. For the 1990 Within Subject database, the significant predictors were sex, mother attachment and father attachment, respectively. For 1991 Within Subject database, there were no significant predictors of depression. Cross validation procedures for the separated data suggest that the results may be generalizable to other samples. Cross validation procedures for within were partially supportive of the model. The results of this study may assist in the understanding of the importance of attachments to parents and the impact on an adolescents' feelings of depression. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Social|Psychology, Clinical|Sociology, Individual and Family Studies

Recommended Citation

Constantina Nicholas, "Adolescents' perceived attachment to parents and its relationship to depression" (January 1, 1998). ETD Collection for Pace University. Paper AAI9817075.
http://digitalcommons.pace.edu/dissertations/AAI9817075

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