The Role of Parent and Peer Attachment in the Relationship between Abuse History and Adolescent Social and Behavioral Outcomes Public Deposited

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  • March 19, 2019
  • Stagg, Anna
    • Affiliation: School of Education, School Psychology Graduate Program
  • Although associations between abuse and social and behavioral outcomes, abuse and attachment relationships, and attachment and social and behavioral outcomes are well documented in the literature, little research has examined all three of these variables together. The current study addresses gaps in past research by examining relationships between the experience of physical abuse, attachment to parents and peers, and social and behavioral outcomes in adolescents. Analyses were conducted using follow-up data from a large study examining outcomes of children with a history of abuse first studied in pre-adolescence and their case matched, non-abused classmates. The sample consisted of adolescents (N=153) with and without a history of abuse. Sociometric assessments were conducted to assess adolescent outcomes including interpersonal competence, internalizing and externalizing behaviors, total behavior problems, and attachment relationships to parents and peers. Findings revealed significant associations between abuse history, attachment, and social and behavioral outcomes. When adolescents with and without a history of abuse were examined separately, attachment was found to be predictive of outcomes only in adolescents without a history of abuse. When the sample was examined as a whole, significant mediation effects were found for parent attachment. Specifically, parent attachment was a mediator of the relationship between abuse and externalizing behavior problems, total behavior problems, and social competence. Attachment to peers was not found to play a significant role in the relationship between preadolescent abuse and adolescent social and behavioral outcomes. Implications of findings are discussed with a focus on prevention and attachment-based interventions.
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Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Lebo Darrah, Beth
  • Crowson, Mary
  • Knotek, Steven
  • Simeonsson, Rune
  • Evarrs, Sandra
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2015
Place of publication
  • Chapel Hill, NC
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