Attachment and the risk of mental health disorders during adolescence
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Department of Clinical Psychology, Faculty of Education, Sociology and Health Sciences, University of Zielona Góra, Zielona Góra, Poland
Submission date: 2014-12-19
Final revision date: 2015-08-01
Acceptance date: 2015-08-02
Online publication date: 2015-10-14
Publication date: 2015-10-14
Health Psychology Report 2016;4(1):8-15
Attachment is one of the more important developmental aspects for predicting a person’s level of adaptation and mental health. Previous research in this area suggests a relationship between insecure attachment and behavioural disorders, deviations as well as depression and other affective disorders. The goal of this study was to determine the relationships between adolescents’ attachment patterns and aggression as well as internalisation and externalisation of problems – expressed as a tendency to assume the role of the victim or the perpetrator. We hypothesised that insecure patterns of attachment foster both aggression (as a personality feature) and a tendency towards mental health issues, through increasing the frequency of entering the role of a victim or a perpetrator. participants and procedure
One hundred and twenty individuals aged 14-19 took part in the study, mainly high school and university students. The study was conducted in groups, with the consent of participants and their parents. The following methods were used to assess the variables: The Inventory of Parent and Peer Attachment (IPPA), the Buss-Perry Aggression Questionnaire (BPAQ) and the Mini Direct and Indirect Aggression Inventory (Mini-DIA).

Our results suggest that a relationship exists between aggressiveness and trust in the relationship with one’s mother, as well as between hostility and alienation with regards to one’s mother and father. Insecure attachment is a significant risk factor for mental health disorders, and it fosters both externalisation and internalisation behaviours.

We interpret the results as suggesting that attachment organisation plays an important role in a wide array of aspects of adolescent psychosocial development.
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