Adolescent insecure attachment as a predictor of maladaptive coping and externalizing behaviors in emerging adulthood

Citation:

Dawson, A. E., Allen, J. P., Marston, E. G., Hafen, C. A., & Schad, M. M. (2014). Adolescent insecure attachment as a predictor of maladaptive coping and externalizing behaviors in emerging adulthood. Attachment & Human Development , 16 (5), 462-478.

Abstract:

This study investigated whether insecure adolescent attachment organization (i.e., preoccupied and dismissing) longitudinally predicted self- and peer-reported externalizing behavior in emerging adulthood. Secondarily, maladaptive coping strategies were examined for their potential role in mediating the relationship between insecure attachment and future externalizing behaviors. Target participants (N = 184) were given the Adult Attachment Interview (AAI) at age 14 and reinterviewed seven and eight years later with their closest peer. Qualities of both preoccupied and dismissing attachment organization predicted self-reported externalizing behaviors in emerging adulthood eight years later, but only preoccupation was predictive of close-peer reports of emerging adult externalizing behavior. Maladaptive coping strategies only mediated the relationship between a dismissing stance toward attachment and future self-reported externalizing behaviors. Understanding the role of coping and emotional regulation in attachment may help us to understand the unique aspects of both dismissing and preoccupied stances toward attachment.

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