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Understanding the relation between attachment and depression in adolescence

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Understanding the relation between attachment and depression in adolescence

Margolese, Stephanie (2002) Understanding the relation between attachment and depression in adolescence. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

Previous research has established a link between insecure attachment and depression in adolescence. However, little is known about the mechanisms that may mediate this relation or the contexts in which this association occurs. One objective of this study was to examine whether adolescents who were more anxious or avoidant in their attachment orientation were more sensitive to interpersonal versus achievement-related stress, made negative attributions and used a ruminative coping strategy in response to stress, and as such, reported more depressive symptoms. Given that the nature of close relationships changes during adolescence, the second objective was to investigate (1) the relative importance of working models of specific attachment figures (i.e., mother, father, best friend, and romantic partner) in the prediction of depression; and (2) the existence of target-specific pathways to depression following relational stress. It was expected that the paths to depression would differ depending on the type of stress and attachment figure under consideration. A total of 134 adolescents ( n = 88 girls; M age = 16.95 years; SD = .74) completed attachment questionnaires, a depression inventory, and a computer task consisting of hypothetical interpersonal and achievement-related vignettes and questions. Tests of the first objective revealed that adolescents' appraisals of the stressfulness of interpersonal and achievement-related situations varied as a function of attachment orientation. Adolescents high on anxiety interpreted all stresses in terms of interpersonal rejection. Adolescents high on avoidance interpreted achievement problems as a reflection of shortcomings of the self, but perceived interpersonal stresses similarly to their anxious counterparts. Insecure attachment relationships with romantic partner and mother, for girls, were uniquely predictive of depression. Adolescents' tendency to make negative attributions in response to stresses fully explained the relation between attachment to these persons and depression. Adolescents were found to ruminate when confronted with stresses involving romantic partner, which was also associated with depression. Results support cognitive models of depression and underscore the role of negative attributions in depression. Furthermore, the pathways to depression were found to be complex and to depend on the types of stress, who is involved in the stress, and the quality of the attachment relationship.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Psychology
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Margolese, Stephanie
Pagination:xiv, 201 leaves ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Theses (Ph.D.)
Program:Psychology
Date:2002
Thesis Supervisor(s):Markiewicz, Dorothy
ID Code:1610
Deposited By:Concordia University Libraries
Deposited On:27 Aug 2009 13:20
Last Modified:08 Dec 2010 10:21
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