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25-09-2019 | Original Paper | Uitgave 1/2020

Journal of Child and Family Studies 1/2020

Paternal and Maternal Attachment: A Multifaceted Perspective on Adolescents’ Friendship

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 1/2020
Tracy K. Wong, Chiaki Konishi, Soo Bin Cho
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This study examined the underpinnings of adolescents’ friendship from an attachment perspective, specifically focusing on the role of paternal attachment. In light that individual differences could moderate the association between parental attachment and friendship qualities, adolescent sex and age were also considered.


Participants aged 13–19 (N = 776) reported the extent to which they felt anxiously and avoidantly attached to their mother and father. They also reported their perceived relationship with a close friend on three major qualities, including positive qualities, negative interactions, and relative power. Path analysis was first conducted to examine the relative roles of parental attachment and individual differences in predicting friendship qualities. Multi-group analysis was then performed to determine whether maternal and paternal attachment differentially predicted friendship qualities among junior and senior high school boys and girls.


Results indicated that maternal attachment avoidance and anxiety were related to friendship qualities among boys. Not only was paternal attachment anxiety positively associated with power issues among junior high school boys, but it was also positively associated with negative interactions among boys and senior high school girls. Neither paternal nor maternal attachment were associated with friendship qualities among junior high school girls.


Findings suggest that paternal and maternal attachment underlie friendship qualities in different ways and that fathers assume more than a complementary role in adolescence for both boys and girls.

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