Publications by Year: 2020
With(out) a Little Help from My Friends: Insecure Attachment in Adolescence, Support-Seeking, and Adult Negativity and Hostility. Attachment & Human Development.
Attachment theory suggests that insecurely attached individuals will have more difficulty seeking and receiving support from others. Such struggles in adolescence may reinforce negative expectations of others and contribute to relationship difficulties into adulthood. Using a diverse community sample of 184 adolescents followed from age 13 to 27, along with friends and romantic partners, this study found that more insecure states of mind regarding attachment at age 14 predicted relative decreases in teens' abilities to seek and receive support from close friends from ages 14-18. In addition, greater attachment insecurity predicted greater observed negative interactions with romantic partners and relative increases in hostile attitudes from ages 14 to 27. The effect of attachment insecurity on observed negativity was mediated by difficulty seeking/receiving support in friendships during adolescence. Results suggest a type of self-fulfilling prophecy as insecure adolescents confirm their negative expectations of others through ongoing struggles to obtain support.
Keywords: Attachment; friendships; hostility; romantic relationships; social support.
Romantic relationships in adolescence develop out of peer interactions that help to create a foundation for romantic involvement. Romantic involvement progresses in stages from infatuation to intimacy, and is influenced by biological, social, and psychological changes that occur throughout adolescence. Moreover, adolescent romantic relationships develop within the contexts of societal and cultural norms and behaviors as well as those learned from parents, peers, and previous romantic partners. The health and quality of these romantic relationships are furthermore determined by individual differences in the timing of relationships and sexual activity, mental health, emotion regulation abilities, and communication skills. The development of positive, healthy romantic relationships during adolescence is an instrumental precursor to forming satisfying romantic relationships in adulthood.
This study used multi-reporter data to examine personality traits and emotion regulation/coping skills as moderators of associations between different types of anxiety and future occupational outcomes in a community sample of 184 emerging adults followed from ages 17-30. Trait anxiety, anxious arousal, rejection sensitivity, and implicit rejection were examined as predictors of later career-related ambition, work performance, job satisfaction, and career satisfaction. Conscientiousness, grit, emotion regulation (ER) and coping skills were analyzed as potential moderators. Although trait anxiety was the only anxiety variable predictive of occupational outcomes in regression analyses, personality variables and ER skills interacted with multiple types of anxiety to predict occupational outcomes. Findings reflected a pattern in which conscientiousness and ER skills mitigated negative effects of anxiety to predict better career outcomes. Findings suggest that traits such as conscientiousness and ER skills may be particularly helpful in the context of high anxiety to promote positive career development.
This study assessed self-perception as a long-term predictor of relative changes in problems related to alcohol and marijuana use in early adulthood. Self-report questionnaires were completed by a community sample of 124 individuals in the Southeastern United States who were followed longitudinally from age 19 to 27. More problems due to substance use at age 27 were predicted by participants’ negative perceptions of their social acceptance, romantic appeal, and self-worth. Predictions remained after accounting for potential confounds including gender, income, and baseline substance use problems at age 19. Social avoidance and distress in new situations at age 19 mediated the relationship between self-perception and relative changes in substance use problems, such that increases in substance use problems from age 19 to 27 were potentially explainable by the linkage of negative self-perceptions to social avoidance and distress in new situations.