What I like about you: The association between adolescent attachment security and emotional behavior in a relationship promoting context

Rachel Hershenberg*, Joanne Davila, Athena Yoneda, Lisa R. Starr, Melissa Ramsay Miller, Catherine B. Stroud, Brian A. Feinstein

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Scopus citations

Abstract

Because the ability to flexibly experience and appropriately express emotions across a range of developmentally relevant contexts is crucial to adaptive functioning, we examined how adolescent attachment security may be related to more functional emotional behavior during a relationship promoting interaction task. Data were collected from 74 early adolescent girls (Mean age 13.45 years; SD = 0.68; 89% Caucasian) and their primary caregiver. Results indicated that, regardless of the parent's interaction behavior and the level of stress in the parent-adolescent relationship, greater adolescent security was associated with more positive and less negative behavioral displays, including greater positivity, greater coherence of verbal content and affect, less embarrassment, and less emotional dysregulation in response to a situational demand for establishing intimacy with the parent. Implications for encouraging and fostering adolescents' capacity to respond to interpersonal contexts in ways that promote the relationship are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1017-1024
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Adolescence
Volume34
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2011

Keywords

  • Adolescence
  • Attachment
  • Intimacy
  • Parent-adolescent interaction
  • Security

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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