Effects of relative degree of perceived parental attachment on the development of adolescent personality styles

Maria N Marchese-Mazzeo, Pace University


Research shows that the way in which the attachment relationship shared between children and parents is characterized influences the way the child will experience himself later in life and as such sets the stage for what types of relationships the child will encounter later in life. Grounded in this concept is one of John Bowlby's main tenets, which is that the primary attachment relationship is central to the development of personality. As a result, Bowlby believed that a maladaptive personality style could lead to potential clinical ramifications such as personality disorders, neurotic symptoms and marital problems. An understanding of what aspects of the attachment relationship between parents and children might affect the way a child's personality develops may help to understand where or at which point and what interventions need to be developed in order to increase the qualities that contribute to healthy personality development as opposed to those that do not. This study examined the relationship between relative degree of adolescent perceived parental attachment (how adolescents characterized relationship with parents) and the link it shares with personality formation. The sample consisted of 263 adolescents: 118 males and 145 females Subjects participated by completing the IPPA (Inventory of Parent and Peer Attachment) and the MAPI (Milton Adolescent Personality Inventory). Results from correlation analyses revealed partial support for the expectation that attachment relationships perceived by adolescents as being marked by more trust and communication for both mother and father as well as relationships being characterized by more alienation for both mother and father would be indicative of the development of certain personality styles. In particular, it was more often than not the perceived element of trust in relationships with both mothers and fathers, particularly mothers, that was the most influential of factors. Specifically, the less trust and communication perceived by subjects in relationships with their mothers the more inhibited their personality style. Conversely, the more perceived alienation in mother-subject relationships was the more inhibited the personality style. Similarly, the less trust with fathers the more inhibited the personality style was. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)

Subject Area

Personality|Developmental psychology

Recommended Citation

Marchese-Mazzeo, Maria N, "Effects of relative degree of perceived parental attachment on the development of adolescent personality styles" (2004). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI3128904.



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