The mediating role of vulnerability factors in the association between attachment and internalizing/externalizing problems

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Recent research indicates that secure attachment is a protective factor against the development of internalizing / externalizing behavioral problems (Laible et al., 2000), while the role of insecure attachment is more controversial, raising the question of potential mediating variables (Brumariu & Kerns, 2010). In literature it emerges how Blatt’s two-configurational model (self-definition and relatedness) correlates on the one hand with the attachment (Luyten & Blatt, 2011; Mikulincer & Shaver, 2007), and on the other with the internalizing / externalizing spectrum (e.g. Campos, Besser, Morgado, & Blatt, 2014). This research has explored the mediation effects of relatedness (dependency) and self-definition (self-criticism), in particular by assuming the mediating role of self-criticism. 316 high school students participated. To these students the Depressive Experiences Questionnaire for Adolescents (DEQ-A; Blatt, Schaffer, Bers, & Quinlan, 1992); the Youth Self-Report (YSR; Achenbach & Rescorla, 2001); the Attachment Style Questionnaire (ASQ; Feeney, Noller, & Hanrahan, 1994) were administrated. The results indicate a good fit for a model in which self-criticism particularly mediated the expected relations between avoidant attachment and externalizing problems. Secure attachment, through both dependency and self-criticism, negatively predicted I/E problems. Attachment had also direct relations with I/E problems. Finally, the internalizing and externalizing problems were correlated. The results are in line with the literature, confirming the importance of considering mediating variables, such as self-criticism, between attachment and the I/E spectrum.
Lingua originaleItalian
Numero di pagine1
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2015

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