Social Indicators Research

, Volume 66, Issue 1–2, pp 35–60 | Cite as

The Influence of Parent and Peer Attachments on Life Satisfaction in Middle Childhood and Early Adolescence

  • Amanda B. Nickerson
  • Richard J. Nagle


Satisfaction in different life domains wasexamined with respect to parent and peerattachment relationships in middle childhoodand early adolescence. Three hundred threestudents, evenly distributed across sex andgrade (fourth, sixth, and eighth) wereadministered People in My Life, ameasure of attachment relationships, and theMultidimensional Students' LifeSatisfaction Scale. Children and earlyadolescents in this sample generally reportedhigh levels of life satisfaction. Some sex andgrade differences in satisfaction with variouslife domains emerged. Attachments to bothparents and peers predicted life satisfaction,although the influence of these relationshipsvaried as a function of grade level and lifedomain. Findings are reviewed in relation topast research, and implications forprofessional practice are discussed.

attachment early adolescence life satisfaction parents peers 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Ainley, J., J. Foreman and M. Sheret: 1991, ‘High school factors that influence students to remain in school’, Journal of Educational Research 85, pp. 69-80.Google Scholar
  2. Ainsworth, M.D.S.: 1989, ‘Attachments beyond infancy’, American Psychologist 44, pp. 709-716.Google Scholar
  3. Ainsworth, M.D.S.: 1991, ‘Attachments and other affectional bonds across the life cycle’, in C.M. Parkes, J. Stevenson-Hinde and P. Marris (eds.), Attachment Across the Life Cycle (Tavistock/Routledge, New York), pp. 33-51.Google Scholar
  4. Allen, J.P. and D. Land: 1999, ‘Attachment in adolescence’, in J. Cassidy and P.R. Shaver (eds.), Handbook of Attachment: Theory, Research, and Clinical Applications (Guilford, New York), pp. 319-335.Google Scholar
  5. American Association of University Women: 1991, Shortchanging Girls, Shortchanging America: Executive Summary (American Association of University Women, Washington DC).Google Scholar
  6. Armsden, G.C. and M.T. Greenberg: 1987, ‘The inventory of parent and peer attachment: Individual differences and their relationships to psychological well-being in adolescence’, Journal of Youth and Adolescence 16, pp. 427-454.Google Scholar
  7. Arnett, J.J.: 1999, ‘Adolescent storm and stress, reconsidered’, American Psychologist 54, pp. 317-326.Google Scholar
  8. Bartholomew, K.: 1990, ‘Avoidance of intimacy: An attachment perspective’, Journal of Social and Personal Relationships 7, pp. 147-178.Google Scholar
  9. Bartholomew, K.: 1993, ‘From childhood to adult relationships: Attachment theory and Research’, in S. Duck (ed.), Learning About Relationships (Sage, Newbury Park, CA), pp. 30-62.Google Scholar
  10. Berndt, T.J.: 1989, ‘Obtaining support from friends during childhood and adolescence’, in D. Belle (ed.), Children's Social Networks and Social Support (John Wiley and Sons, New York), pp. 308-331.Google Scholar
  11. Berndt, T.J. and T.B. Perry: 1990, ‘Distinctive feature and effects of early adolescent Friendships’, in R. Montemayor, G.R. Adams and T.P. Gullotta (eds.), From Childhood to Adolescence: A Transitional Period? (Sage, Newbury Park, CA), pp. 269-287.Google Scholar
  12. Bowlby, J.: 1958, ‘The nature of the child's tie to his mother’, International Journal of Psychoanalysis 35, pp. 350-373.Google Scholar
  13. Bretherton, I.: 1985, ‘Attachment theory: Retrospect and prospect’, in I. Bretherton and E. Waters (eds.), Growing Points of Attachment Theory and Research, Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development 50, pp. 3-35.Google Scholar
  14. Bretherton, I.: 1992, ‘The origins of attachment theory: John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth’, Developmental Psychology 28, pp. 759-775.Google Scholar
  15. Buhrmester, D.: 1990, ‘Intimacy of friendship, interpersonal competence, and adjustment during middle childhood and adolescence’, Child Development 61, pp. 1101-1111.Google Scholar
  16. Bukowski, W.M., B. Hoza and M. Boivin: 1993, ‘Popularity, friendship, and emotional adjustment during early adolescence’, in W. Damon (series ed.) and B. Laurson (vol. ed.), New Directions for Child Development: Vol. 60. Close Friendships in Adolescence (Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, CA), pp. 23-37.Google Scholar
  17. Cashwell, C.S. and N.A. Vacc: 1996, ‘Family functioning and risk behaviors: Influences on adolescent delinquency’, School Counselor 44, pp. 105-114.Google Scholar
  18. Clark, R.D. and G. Shields: 1997, ‘Family communication and delinquency’, Adolescence 32, pp. 81-92.Google Scholar
  19. Cook, E.T., M.T. Greenberg and C.A. Kusche: 1995, ‘People in My Life: Attachment relationships in middle childhood’, poster presented at the Society for Research in Child Development (Indianapolis, IN).Google Scholar
  20. Cotterell, J.L.: 1992, ‘The relation of attachments and support to adolescent well-being and school adjustment’, Journal of Adolescent Research 7, pp. 28-42.Google Scholar
  21. Cowen, E.L. and W.C. Work: 1988, ‘Resilient children, psychological wellness, and primary Prevention’, American Journal of Community Psychology 16, pp. 591-607.Google Scholar
  22. Crowell, J.A., R.C. Fraley and P.R. Shaver: 1999, ‘Measurement of individual differences in adolescent and adult attachment’, in J. Cassidy and P.R. Shaver (eds.), Handbook of Attachment: Theory, Research, and Clinical applications (Guilford, New York), pp. 434-465.Google Scholar
  23. Diener, E.: 1994, ‘Assessing subjective well-being: Progress and opportunities’, Social Indicators Research 31, pp. 103-157.Google Scholar
  24. Doll, B. and M.A. Lyon: 1998, ‘Risk and resilience: Implications for the delivery of educational and mental health services in schools’, School Psychology Review 27, pp. 348-363.Google Scholar
  25. Eccles, J.S., C. Midgley, A. Wigfield, R.M. Buchanan, D. Reuman, C. Flanagan and D. MacIver: 1993, ‘Development during adolescence: The impact of stage-environment fit on young adolescents' experiences in schools and families’, American Psychologist 48, pp. 90-101.Google Scholar
  26. Elicker, J., M. Englund and L.A. Sroufe: 1992, ‘Predicting peer competence and peer relationships in childhood from early parent-child relationships’, in R.D. Parke and G.W. Ladd (eds.), Family-Peer Relationships: Modes of Linkage (Lawrence Erlbaum, Hillsdale, NJ), pp. 77-106.Google Scholar
  27. Furman, W.: 1989, ‘The development of children's social networks’, in D. Belle (ed.), Children's Social Networks and Social Support (John Wiley and Sons, New York), pp. 151-172.Google Scholar
  28. Furman, W.: 1993, ‘Theory is not a four-letter word: Needed directions in the study of adolescent friendships’, in B. Laursen (ed.), Close Friendships in Adolescence: New Directions for Child Development, 60 (Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, CA), pp. 89-103.Google Scholar
  29. Greenspoon, P.J. and D.H. Saklofske: 1997, ‘Validity and reliability of the multidimensional students' life satisfaction scale with Canadian children’, Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment 15, pp. 138-155.Google Scholar
  30. Halpern, D.F.: 1997, ‘Sex differences in intelligence: Implications for education’, American Psychologist 52, pp. 1091-1102.Google Scholar
  31. Hartup, W.W.: 1989, ‘Social relationships and their developmental significance’, American Psychologist 44, pp. 120-126.Google Scholar
  32. Hartup, W.W.: 1996, ‘The company they keep: Friendships and their developmental significance’, Child Development 67, pp. 1-13.Google Scholar
  33. Hazan, C. and P.R. Shaver: 1987, ‘Romantic love conceptualized as an attachment process’, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 52, pp. 511-524.Google Scholar
  34. Hazan, C. and P.R. Shaver: 1994, ‘Attachment as an organizational framework for research on close relationships’, Psychological Inquiry 5, pp. 1-22.Google Scholar
  35. Homel, R. and A. Burns: 1989, ‘Environmental quality and the wellbeing of children’, Social Indicators Research 21, pp. 133-158.Google Scholar
  36. Huebner, E.S.: 1991a, ‘Correlates of life satisfaction in children’, School Psychology Quarterly 6, pp. 103-111.Google Scholar
  37. Huebner, E.S.: 1991b, ‘Initial development of the Student's Life Satisfaction Scale’, School Psychology International 12, pp. 231-240.Google Scholar
  38. Huebner, E.S.: 1994, ‘Preliminary development and validation of a multidimensional life satisfaction scale for children’, Psychological Assessment 6, pp. 149-158.Google Scholar
  39. Huebner, E.S.: 1995, ‘The students' life satisfaction scale: An assessment of psychometric properties with black and white elementary school students’, Social Indicators Research 34, pp. 315-323.Google Scholar
  40. Huebner, E.S.: 1997, ‘Life satisfaction and happiness’, in G.G. Bear, K.M. Minke and A. Thomas (eds.), Children's Needs II: Development, Problems, and Alternatives (National Association of School Psychologists, Bethesda, MD), pp. 271-278.Google Scholar
  41. Huebner, E.S. and T. Dew: 1996, ‘The interrelationship of positive affect, negative affect, and life satisfaction in an adolescent sample’, Social Indicators Research 38, pp. 129-137.Google Scholar
  42. Huebner, E.S., W. Drane and R.F. Valois: 2000, ‘Levels and demographic correlates of adolescent life satisfaction reports’, School Psychology International 21, pp. 281-292.Google Scholar
  43. Huebner, E.S., J.E. Laughlin, C. Ash and R. Gilman: 1998, Further validation of the Multidimensional Students' Life Satisfaction Scale’, Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment 16, pp. 118-134.Google Scholar
  44. Kaufman, P., S. Klein and M. Frase: 1999, Dropout Rates in the United States: 1997 (U.S. Department of Education, Washington, DC).Google Scholar
  45. Lempers, J.D. and D.S. Clark-Lempers: 1992, ‘Young, middle, and late adolescents' comparisons of the functional importance of five significant relationships’, Journal of Youth and Adolescence 21, pp. 53-96.Google Scholar
  46. Mahoney, J.L. and H. Stattin: 2000, ‘Leisure activities and adolescent antisocial behavior: The role of structure and social context’, Journal of Adolescence 23, pp. 113-127.Google Scholar
  47. Man, P.: 1991, ‘The influence of peers and parents on youth life satisfaction in Hong Kong’, Social Indicators Research 24, pp. 347-365.Google Scholar
  48. McFadyen-Ketchum, S. A. and K.A. Dodge: 1998, ‘Problems in social relationships’, in E.J. Mash and R.A. Barkley (eds.), Treatment of Childhood Disorders: Second Edition (Guilford, New York), pp. 338-365.Google Scholar
  49. Montemayor, R. and D.J. Flannery: 1990, ‘Making the transition from childhood to early adolescence’, in R. Montemayor, G.R. Adams and T.P. Gullotta (eds.), From Childhood to Adolescence: A Transitional Period? (Sage, Newbury Park, CA), pp. 269-287.Google Scholar
  50. Newcomb, A.F. and C.L. Bagwell: 1995, ‘Children's friendship relations: A meta-analytic review’, Psychological Bulletin 117, pp. 306-347.Google Scholar
  51. Paikoff, R.L. and J. Brooks-Gunn: 1991, ‘Do parent-child relationships change during puberty?’, Psychological Bulletin 110, pp. 47-66.Google Scholar
  52. Paterson, J.E., J. Field and J. Pryor: 1994, ‘Adolescents' perceptions of their attachment relationships with their mothers, fathers, and friends’, Journal of Youth and Adolescence 23, pp. 579-600.Google Scholar
  53. Petito, F. and R.A. Cummins: 2000, ‘Quality of life in adolescence: The role of perceived control, parenting style, and social support’, Behaviour Change 17, pp. 196-207.Google Scholar
  54. Pollack, W.: 1998, Real Boys: Rescuing our Sons From the Myths of Boyhood (Henry Holt, New York).Google Scholar
  55. Rice, K.G.: 1990, ‘Attachment in adolescence: A narrative and meta-analytic review’, Journal of Youth and Adolescence 19, pp. 511-538.Google Scholar
  56. Rosenfield, L.B., J.M. Richman and G.L. Bowen: 2000, ‘Social support networks and school outcomes: The centrality of the teacher’, Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal 17, pp. 205-226.Google Scholar
  57. Seligman, M.E.P.: 1999, ‘Teaching positive psychology’, APA Monitor, p. 42.Google Scholar
  58. Sroufe, L.A.: 1989, ‘Pathways to adaptation and maladaptation: Psychopathology as developmental deviation’, in D. Cicchetti (ed.), The Emergence of a Discipline: Rochester Symposium on Developmental Psychopathology, Vol. 1 (Lawrence Erlbaum, Hillsdale, NJ), pp. 13-40.Google Scholar
  59. Steinberg, A.: 1993, Adolescents and Schools: Improving the Fit (Harvard University, Cambridge, MA).Google Scholar
  60. Terry, T. and E.S. Huebner: 1995, ‘The relationship between self-concept and life satisfaction in children’, Social Indicators Research 35, pp. 39-52.Google Scholar
  61. U.S. Department of Education: 1990, National Center for Education Statistics, National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988: First Followup Study, 1990 (U.S. Department of Education, Washington, DC).Google Scholar
  62. Vazsonyi, A.T. and D.J. Flannery: 1997, ‘Early adolescent delinquent behaviors: Associations with family and school domains’, Journal of Early Adolescence 17, pp. 271-293.Google Scholar
  63. Vernon, A. and R.H Al-Mabuk: 1995, What Growing Up is All About: A Parent's Guide to Child and Adolescent Development (Research Press, Champaign, IL).Google Scholar
  64. Wilgenbusch, T. and K.W. Merrell: 1999, ‘Gender differences in self-concept among children and adolescents: A meta-analysis of multidimensional studies’, School Psychology Quarterly 14, pp. 101-120.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amanda B. Nickerson
    • 1
  • Richard J. Nagle
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology, ED 232University at Albany – State University of New YorkAlbanyUSA

Personalised recommendations