Advertisement

Attachment to Parents, Best Friend, and Romantic Partner: Predicting Different Pathways to Depression in Adolescence

  • Stephanie K. Margolese
  • Dorothy Markiewicz
  • Anna Beth Doyle
Article

Abstract

Research indicates that insecurely-attached adolescents are at risk for depression, but little is known about factors that may influence or explain this vulnerability. The present study focuses on close relationships during adolescence and their association with depression. Specifically, the objectives were to investigate (1) the role 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 attachment figure under consideration. A total of 134 adolescents (n = 88 girls; Mage = 16.95 years; SD = .74) completed attachment questionnaires, a depression inventory, and a computer task consisting of hypothetical interpersonal vignettes and questions. Insecure attachment relationships with romantic partner, and for girls only, with mother, were uniquely predictive of depression. Insecurely-attached adolescents' tendency to make negative attributions in response to stresses fully mediated the attachment–depression association. These adolescents were found to ruminate when confronted with stresses involving romantic partner, which was also associated with depression. Results underscore the link between attachment, negative attributions, and depression.

Key Words

attachment depression adolescents attributions rumination 

References

  1. Abramson, L. Y., Metalsky, G. I., and Alloy, L. B. (1989). Hopelessness depression: A theory-based subtype of depression. Psychol. Rev. 96: 358–372.Google Scholar
  2. Abramson, L. Y., Seligman, M. E. P., and Teasdale, J. D. (1978). Learned helplessness in humans: Critique and reformulation. J. Abnorm. Psychol. 87: 49–74.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Ainsworth, M. D. S. (1989). Attachments beyond infancy. Am. Psychol. 44: 709–716.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Ainsworth, M. D. S., Blehar, M. C., Waters, E., and Wall, S. (1978). Patterns of Attachment. Erlbaum, Hillsdale, NJ.Google Scholar
  5. Allen, J. P., Moore, C., Kuperminc, G., and Bell, K. (1998). Attachment and adolescent psychosocial functioning. Child Dev. 69: 1406–1419.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Armsden, G. C., and Greenberg, M. T. (1987). The inventory of parent and peer attachment: Individual differences and their relationship to psychological well-being. J. Youth Adolesc. 16: 427–454.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bartholomew, K., and Horowitz, L. M. (1991). Attachment styles among young adults: A test of a four-category model. J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 61: 226–244.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Beck, A. T., Rush, A. J., Shaw, B. F., and Emery, G. (1979). Cognitive Therapy of Depression. Guilford, New York.Google Scholar
  9. Beck, A. T., and Steer, R. A. (1987). Beck Depression Inventory Manual. The Psychological Corporation, New York.Google Scholar
  10. Blatt, S. J., Wein, S. J., Chevron, E., and Quinlan, D. M. (1979). Parental representations and depression in normal young adults. J. Abnorm. Psychol. 88: 388–397.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Blishen, B. R., Carroll, W. K., and Moore, C. (1987). The 1981 socioeconomic index for occupations in Canada. Can. Rev. Sociol. Anthropol. 24: 465–488.Google Scholar
  12. Bowlby, J. (1973). Attachment and Loss: Vol. II. Separation: Anxiety and Anger. Hogarth, London.Google Scholar
  13. Bretherton, I., and Munholland, K. A. (1999). Internal working models in attachment relationships: A construct revisited. In Cassidy, J., and Shaver, P. R. (eds.), Handbook of Attachment: Theory, Research, and Clinical Applications. Guilford, New York.Google Scholar
  14. Clarke, G. N., Hawkins, W., Murphy, M., Sheeber, L. B., Lewinsohn, P. M., and Seeley, J. R. (1995). Targeted prevention of unipolar depressive disorder in an at-risk sample of high school adolescents: A randomized trial of a group cognitive intervention. J. Am. Acad. Child Adolesc. Psychiatry 32: 312–321.Google Scholar
  15. Clarke, G. N., Rohde, P., Lewinsohn, P. M., Hops, H., and Seeley, J. R. (1999). Cognitive-behavioral treatment of adolescent depression: Efficacy of acute group treatment and booster sessions. J. Am. Acad. Child Adolesc. Psychiatry 38: 272–279.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Collins, N. L., and Read, S. J. (1994). Cognitive representations of attachment: The structure and function of working models. In Bartholomew, K., and Pearlman, D. (eds.), Advances in Personal Relationships: Vol. 5. Attachment Processes in Adulthood. Jessica-Kingsley, London, pp. 53–90.Google Scholar
  17. Cummings, E. M., and Cicchetti, D. (1990). Toward a transactional model of relations between attachment and depression. In Greenberg, M. T., Cicchetti, D., and Cummings, E. M. (eds.), Attachment in the Preschool Years: Theory, Research, and Intervention. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp. 339–372.Google Scholar
  18. Diamond, G. S., Reis, B. F., Diamond, G. M., Siqueland, L., and Isaacs, L. (2002). Attachment-based family therapy for depressed adolescents: A treatment development study. J. Am. Acad. Child Adolesc. Psychiatry 41: 1190–1196.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Fraley, R. C., and Davis, K. E. (1997). Attachment formation and transfer in young adults' close friendships and romantic relationships. Pers. Relat. 4: 131–144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Garber, J., and Flynn, C. (2001). Predictors of depressive cognitions in young adolescents. Cogn. Ther. Res. 25: 353–376.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Griffin, D., and Bartholomew, K. (1994). Models of self and other: Fundamental dimensions underlying measures of adult attachment. J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 67: 430–445.Google Scholar
  22. Hazan, C., and Shaver, P. (1987). Romantic love conceptualized as an attachment process. J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 52: 511–524.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Hazan, C., and Zeifman, D. (1994). Sex and the psychological tether. In Bartholomew, K., and Perlman, D. (eds.), Advances in Personal Relationships. Vol. 5. Attachment Processes in Adulthood. Jessica Kingsley, London, pp. 151–177.Google Scholar
  24. Holmbeck, G. N. (1997). Toward terminological, conceptual, and statistical clarity in the study of mediators and moderators: Examples from the child-clinical and pediatric psychology literatures. J. Consult. Clin. Psychol. 65: 599–610.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Kerns, K. A., and Stevens, A. C. (1996). Parent‐child attachment in late adolescence: Links to social relations and personality. J. Youth Adolesc. 25: 323–342.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kline, R. B. (1998). Principles and Practice of Structural Equation Modeling. Guilford, NY.Google Scholar
  27. Kobak, R. (1999). The emotional dynamics of disruptions in attachment relationships: Implications for theory, research, and clinical intervention. In Cassidy, J., and Shaver, P. R. (eds.), Handbook of Attachment: Theory, Research, and Clinical Applications. Guilford, NewYork, pp. 21–43.Google Scholar
  28. Kobak, R. R., Cole, H. E., Ferenz-Gillies, R., Fleming, W. S., and Gamble, W. (1993). Attachment and emotion regulation during mother‐teen problem solving: A control theory analysis. Child Dev. 64: 231–245.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Kobak, R. R., and Sceery, A. (1988). Attachment in late adolescence: Working models, affect regulation, and representations of self and others. Child Dev. 59: 135–146.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Kobak, R. R., Sudler, N., and Gamble, W. (1991). Attachment and depressive symptoms during adolescence: A developmental pathways analysis. Dev. Psychopathol. 3: 461–474.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Laible, D. J., Carlo, G., and Rafaelli, M. (2000). The differential relations of parent and peer attachment to adolescent adjustment. J. Youth Adolesc. 29: 45–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Lieberman, M., Doyle, A. B., and Markiewicz, D. (1999). Developmental patterns in security of attachment to mother and father in late childhood and early adolescence: Associations with peer relations. Child Dev. 70: 202–213.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Markiewicz, D., Doyle, A. B., and Brendgen, M. (2001). The quality of adolescents' friendships: Associations with mothers' interpersonal relationships, attachment to parents and friends, and prosocial behaviors. J. Adolesc. 24: 429–445.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. McCormick, C. B., and Kennedy, J. H. (1994). Parent‐child attachment working models and self-esteem in adolescence. J. Youth Adolesc. 23: 1–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Monroe, S. M., Rohde, P., Seeley, J. R., and Lewinsohn, P. M. (1999). Life events and depression in adolescence: Relationship loss as a prospective risk factor for first-onset major depressive disorder. J. Abnorm. Psychol. 108: 606–614.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Murphy, B., and Bates, G. W. (1997). Adult attachment style and vulnerability to depression. Pers. Individ. Differ. 22: 835–844.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Nada Raja, S., McGee, R., and Stanton, W. R. (1992). Perceived attachments to parents and peers and psychological well-being in adolescence. J. Youth Adolesc. 21: 471–485.Google Scholar
  38. Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (1998). Ruminative coping with depression. In Heckhausen, J., and Dweck, C. S. (eds.), Motivation and Self-Regulation Across the Life Span. Cambridge University Press, NY, pp. 237–256.Google Scholar
  39. Nolen-Hoeksema, S., and Girgus, J. S. (1994). The emergence of gender differences in depression during adolescence. Psychol. Bull. 115: 424–443.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Nolen-Hoeksema, S., Larson, J., and Grayson, C. (1999). Explaining the gender difference in depressive symptoms . J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 77: 1061–1072.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. Nolen-Hoeksema, S., and Morrow, J. (1991). A prospective study of depression and posttraumatic stress symptomss after a natural disaster: The 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 61: 115–121.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Paterson, J., Pryor, J., and Field, J. (1995). Adolescent attachment to parents and friends in relation to aspects of self-esteem. J. Youth Adolesc. 24: 365–376.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Paterson, J. E., Field, J., and Pryor, J. (1994). Adolescents' perceptions of their attachment relationships with their mothers, fathers, and friends. J. Youth Adolesc. 23: 579–600.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Petersen, A. C., Compas, B. E., Brooks-Gunn, J., Stemmler, M., Ey, S., and Grant, K. E. (1993). Depression in adolescence. Am. Psychol. 48: 155–168.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Pyszczynski, T., Holt, K., and Greenberg, J. (1987). Depression, self-focused attention, and expectancies for positive and negative future life events for self and others. J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 52: 994–1001.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  46. Robinson, N. S., Garber, J., and Hilsman, R. (1995). Cognitions and stress: Direct and moderating effects on depressive versus externalizing symptoms during the junior high school transition. J. Abnorm. Psychol. 104: 453–463.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Scharfe, E., and Bartholomew, K. (1994). Reliability and stability of adult attachment patterns. Pers. Relat. 1: 24–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Schwartz, J. A. J., and Koenig, L. J. (1996). Response styles and negative affect among adolescents. Cogn. Ther. Res. 20: 13–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Sweeney, P. D., Anderson, K., and Bailey, S. (1986). Attributional style in depression: A meta-analytic review. J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 50: 974–991.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  50. Torquati, J. C., and Vazsonyi, A. T. (1999). Attachment as an organizational construct for affect, appraisals, and coping of late adolescent females. J. Youth Adolesc. 28: 545–562.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Trinke, S. J., and Bartholomew, K. (1997). Hierarchies of attachment relationships in young adulthood. J. Soc. Pers. Relat. 14: 603–625.Google Scholar
  52. Williams, S., Connolly, J., and Segal, Z. V. (2001). Intimacy in relationships and cognitive vulnerability to depression in adolescent girls. Cogn. Ther. Res. 25: 477–496.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephanie K. Margolese
    • 1
    • 2
  • Dorothy Markiewicz
    • 3
  • Anna Beth Doyle
    • 4
  1. 1.Staff Psychologist, Child Psychiatry DepartmentThe Jewish General HospitalCanada
  2. 2.Child Psychiatry OPD, Institute of Community and Family PsychiatryS.M.B.D.–Jewish General HospitalMontrealCanada
  3. 3.Psychology and Applied Human SciencesConcordia UniversityMontrealCanada
  4. 4.Concordia UniversityMontrealCanada

Personalised recommendations