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J Youth Adolesc. 1992 Aug;21(4):471-85. doi: 10.1007/BF01537898.

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

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Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Research Unit, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Medical School, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.


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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