, Volume 29, Issue 1, pp 45-59

The Differential Relations of Parent and Peer Attachment to Adolescent Adjustment

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Abstract

Whether or not close emotional relationships with parents and peers serve similar functions for adolescent adjustment is an issue of increasing interest. The present study was designed to examine the relations between parent and peer attachment and adolescent adjustment. Eighty-nine adolescents (M age = 16.1 years, SD = 1.8 years) completed self-report measures of parent and peer attachment, sympathy, academic efficacy, aggression, anxiety, and depression. Adolescents were divided into four groups on the basis of their parent and peer attachment scores: those high on both, those low on both, those high on peer but low on parent attachment, and those high on parent but low on peer attachment. Discriminant function analyses revealed that the groups differed only along one dimension, suggesting that parent and peer attachment served similar functions in terms of the adjustment indices measured. Adolescents high on both peer and parent attachment were the best adjusted (i.e., least aggressive and depressed, most sympathetic) and those low on both were the least well adjusted. Furthermore, those high on peer but low on parent attachment were better adjusted than those high on parent but low on peer attachment, suggesting that peer attachment may be relatively more influential on adolescent adjustment than parent attachment.