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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The relationship between attachment strategies and psychopathology in adolescence.

AIM: The majority of research investigating attachment and psychopathology has focused largely on children, and more recently adults. By comparison, few studies have considered the role of attachment on the development of psychopathology during adolescence. The scarcity of studies in this area is surprising given that adolescence is a critical period of psychological adjustment. This study investigates attachment patterns in adolescence and their relationship to symptomatology and interpersonal difficulties. METHOD: A two-sample comparative design was employed so that a clinical group of adolescents were compared with a matched non-clinical group, on attachment classifications (using a modified Separation Anxiety Test), reported interpersonal difficulties and clinical symptoms. RESULTS: Significant differences were found between the clinical and non-clinical groups on attachment classifications. Adolescents with ambivalent attachment patterns reported significantly more interpersonal difficulties and symptoms compared to young people classified as having secure and avoidant attachment classifications. The results are suggestive of specific differences in the way difficulties are reported. CONCLUSION: The findings are consistent with two strategies of affect regulation. It is proposed that a 'hyperactivating' strategy and a 'deactivating' strategy may be operating among those adolescents with ambivalent and avoidant attachment classifications, respectively. The implications of using self-report measures in clinical work and for evidence-based practice are discussed.[1]


  1. The relationship between attachment strategies and psychopathology in adolescence. Brown, L.S., Wright, J. Psychology and psychotherapy. (2003) [Pubmed]
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