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01-12-2013 | Empirical Research | Uitgave 12/2013

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 12/2013

Exploring the Association Between Insecure Attachment Styles and Adolescent Autonomy in Family Decision Making: A Differentiated Approach

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 12/2013
Auteurs:
Stijn Van Petegem, Wim Beyers, Katrijn Brenning, Maarten Vansteenkiste

Abstract

The present investigation focuses on the associations between adolescents’ insecure attachment styles (i.e., anxiety and avoidance) and their autonomous functioning in family decision making. In line with recent insights in the construct of adolescent autonomy, we combined two perspectives on autonomy, differentiating between the degree of independent versus dependent functioning and the self-endorsed and pressuring motives underlying (in)dependent functioning. A longitudinal sample of 327 adolescents (age range = 13–20 years; 64 % girls) completed questionnaires on attachment to the mother and father and on both autonomy operationalisations on two measurement moments spanning a 1-year interval. Structural equation modeling showed that attachment avoidance generally was unrelated to the degree of independent decision making and the motives underlying independent decision making, but related to more pressuring motives for dependent decision making. Anxiety, on the other hand, was associated with a lower degree of independent decision making as well as with more pressuring motives for both independent and dependent decision making. Cross-lagged paths were generally in line with these findings. Theoretical implications are outlined in the discussion.

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