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Child Dev. 1998 Oct;69(5):1406-19.

Attachment and adolescent psychosocial functioning.

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Department of Psychology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville 22903, USA.


To explore the meaning and function of attachment organization during adolescence, its relation to multiple domains of psychosocial functioning was examined in a sample of 131 moderately at-risk adolescents. Attachment organization was assessed using the Adult Attachment Interview; multiple measures of functioning were obtained from parents, adolescents, and their peers. Security displayed in adolescents' organization of discourse about attachment experiences was related to competence with peers (as reported by peers), lower levels of internalizing behaviors (as reported by adolescents), and lower levels of deviant behavior (as reported by peers and by mothers). Preoccupation with attachment experiences, seen in angry or diffuse and unfocused discussion of attachment experiences, was linked to higher levels of both internalizing and deviant behaviors. These relations generally remained even when other attachment-related constructs that had been previously related to adolescent functioning were covaried in analysis. Results are interpreted as suggesting an important role for attachment organization in a wide array of aspects of adolescent psychosocial development.

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