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Perceived attachments to parents and peers and psychological well-being in adolescence

Abstract

This paper reports the findings from a study of 935 adolescents' perceived attachments to their parents and peers, and their psychological health and well-being. Perceived attachment to parents did not significantly differ between males and females. However, females scored significantly higher than males on a measure of attachment to peers. Also, relative to males, they had higher anxiety and depression scores, suggesting poorer psychological well-being. Overall, a lower perceived attachment to parents was significantly associated with lower scores on the measures of well-being. Adolescents who perceived high attachments to both their parents and peers had the highest scores on a measure of self-perceived strengths. In this study, adolescents' perceived attachment to peers did not appear to compensate for a low attachment to parents in regard to their mental ill-health. These findings suggest that high perceived attachment to parents may be a critical variable associated with psychological well-being in adolescence.

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Received M.Sc. in psychology from the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. Research interests include adolescent menial health.

Received Ph.D. in psychology from the University of New South Wales, Australia. Research interests include issues in behavioral medicine.

Received Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Newcastle, Australia. Research interests include child health and development, and adolescent smoking behavior.

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Raja, S.N., McGee, R. & Stanton, W.R. Perceived attachments to parents and peers and psychological well-being in adolescence. J Youth Adolescence 21, 471–485 (1992). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01537898

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Keywords

  • Health Psychology
  • Lower Score
  • Critical Variable
  • Depression Score
  • High Anxiety