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J Clin Child Adolesc Psychol. 2013;42(4):531-44. doi: 10.1080/15374416.2012.749787. Epub 2012 Dec 13.

Negative attachment cognitions and emotional distress in mainland Chinese adolescents: a prospective multiwave test of vulnerability-stress and stress generation models.

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Department of Psychology, Rutgers University, 53 Avenue E, Piscataway, NJ 08854-8040, USA.


The present study examined the relation between attachment cognitions, stressors, and emotional distress in a sample of Chinese adolescents. Specifically, it was examined whether negative attachment cognitions predicted depression and anxiety symptoms, and if a vulnerability-stress or stress generation model best explained the relation between negative attachment cognitions and internalizing symptoms. Participants included 558 adolescents (310 females and 248 males) from an urban school in Changsha and 592 adolescents (287 female, 305 male) from a rural school in Liuyang, both in Hunan province located in mainland China. Participants completed self-report measures of negative attachment cognitions at baseline, and self-report measures of negative events, depression symptoms, and anxiety symptoms at baseline and at regular 1-month intervals for an overall 6-month follow-up (i.e., six follow-up assessments). Higher levels of negative attachment cognitions predicted prospective depression and anxiety symptoms. Furthermore, support was found for a stress generation model that partially mediated this longitudinal association. No support was found for a vulnerability-stress model. Overall, these findings highlight new developmental pathways for development of depression and anxiety symptoms in mainland Chinese adolescents.

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