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27-08-2019 | Original Paper | Uitgave 12/2019

Journal of Child and Family Studies 12/2019

Emerging Adults’ Relationship with Caregivers and their Romantic Attachment: Quality Communication Helps

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 12/2019
Auteurs:
Anna Luerssen, Jacob Shane, Mia Budescu
Belangrijke opmerkingen

Supplementary information

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s10826-019-01523-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Publisher’s note: Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Abstract

Objectives

Caregivers play an influential role in their child’s romantic attachment representations in emerging adulthood. In the current research, we explored one possible mechanism underlying this connection, the quality of caregiver-child communication about romantic relationships as indexed by emerging adults’ perceptions of the frequency, comfortableness, and helpfulness of these conversations with their female caregiver.

Methods

Survey data from a sample of emerging adults enrolled in an American university were analyzed with structural equation modeling to evaluate this mediational prediction using causal steps and bootstrapping of indirect effects approaches.

Results

A higher quality caregiver-child relationship (higher support, less strain) was associated with higher quality communication about romantic relationships, and this communication was associated with lower attachment anxiety (indirect effect from support: β = −0.085; 95% CI [−0.139, −0.036], p = 0.001; indirect from strain: β = 0.020; 95% CI [0.005, 0.040], p = 0.026) and attachment avoidance (indirect effect from support: β = −0.094; 95% CI [−0.151, −0.043], p = 0.001; indirect effect from strain: β = 0.022; 95% CI [0.006, 0.043], p = 0.021). Fit statistics and indirect effects for the hypothesized model were compared and found superior to a variety of alternative models.

Conclusions

The quality of emerging adults’ conversations with their female caregiver about romantic relationships mediated the relationship between caregiver-child relationship quality and romantic attachment representations. Results are discussed in terms of the importance of romantic relationships and romantic attachment and the connection between the caregiver-child relationship and these outcomes in emerging adulthood.

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