Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 17–29

The extent and function of parental attachment among first-year college students

  • Maureen E. Kenny

DOI: 10.1007/BF02141544

Cite this article as:
Kenny, M.E. J Youth Adolescence (1987) 16: 17. doi:10.1007/BF02141544


The extent and function of the parent-child bond, conceptualized according to Ainsworth's (M.D.S. Ainsworth, M. C. Blehar, E. Walters, and S. Wally [1978],Patterns of Attachment: A Psychological Study of the Strange Situation, Erlbaum Associates, Hillsdale, NJ) model of attachment, was explored for a group of first-year college students (N=173) at a selective, prestigious, northeastern university. Overall, students' descriptions of their parental relationships were positive and resembled Ainsworth's secure attachment type. Most students viewed their parents as a secure base, encouraging independence and remaining available as a source of support when needed. Furthermore, students indicated that they sought parental help more than a moderate amount in situations of stress. For female students, close parental relationships were found to be positively associated with self-reports of assertion.

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maureen E. Kenny
    • 1
  1. 1.Psychology in Education, Graduate School of EducationUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphia