, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 171-183

Internalizing and Externalizing Problems as Correlates of Self-Reported Attachment Style and Perceived Parental Rearing in Normal Adolescents

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The current study examined relationships between attachment style, parental rearing behaviors, and symptoms of internalizing and externalizing in a large sample of nonreferred adolescents (N = 742). Adolescents completed (a) a single-item measure of attachment style, (b) the child version of the EMBU, a questionnaire measuring perceptions of parental rearing behaviors, and (c) the Youth Self-Report, an index of severity of internalizing and externalizing symptoms. Results showed that attachment style was related to internalizing as well as externalizing symptoms. More specifically, adolescents who classified themselves as avoidantly or ambivalently attached displayed higher levels of internalizing and externalizing symptoms than adolescents who classified themselves as securely attached. Furthermore, perceived parental rearing behaviors were also associated with internalizing and externalizing symptoms. That is, low levels of emotional warmth and high levels of rejection and overprotection were accompanied by high levels of psychopathological symptoms. Finally, both attachment and parental rearing behaviors accounted for a unique proportion of the variance in internalizing symptoms. Yet, when predicting externalizing symptoms, only parental rearing behaviors declared a significant proportion of the variance.