Prospective Bidirectional Associations between Attachment and Depressive Symptoms from Middle Childhood to Adolescence
- 232 Downloads
Insecure attachment to parents consistently correlates with adolescent depression. However, the order of cause and effect, the impact of confounding, and gender disparities in this relationship remain unresolved. The present study therefore examined the prospective associations between attachment relationships to mothers and fathers and depressive symptoms in a community sample of Spanish children (n = 904; 49.4% females) assessed biennially from age 10–16 years, net of all unmeasured time-invariant confounding. Insecure relationships predicted depressive symptoms, and more so among girls, but depressive symptoms also forecasted worsened attachment relationships. At ages 12–14, mother–child attachment proved to be more important for the development of depressive symptoms than father–child attachment. These findings reveal a pattern of reciprocal influence between attachment relationships and depressive symptoms that appears to vary as a function of the parental and child’s gender and developmental period. Thus, efforts aimed at strengthening the parent–child attachment relationship—across the transition from middle childhood to adolescence—may prevent or reduce depressive symptoms, especially by targeting mothers and female adolescents.
KeywordsAdolescence Attachment relationships Depression Dynamic panel model Gender Reciprocal associations
L.C.G. conceived of the study, participated in its design and drafted the original manuscript; L.W. participated in the design, performed the statistical analysis measurement and helped to draft the manuscript; K.R.V. participated in the interpretation of the data and helped to draft the manuscript; C.S. conceived of the study, participated in its design and coordination and helped to draft the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Data Sharing and Declaration
This manuscript’s data will not be deposited.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
This present study was conducted in compliance with the specific requirements of Spain for retrospective studies. All procedures performed in this study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study, their parents and principals of all schools.
- Allen, J. J., & Tan, J. S. (2016). The multiple facets of attachment in adolescence. In J. Cassidy & P. R. Shaver (Eds), Handbook of attachment: theory, research, and clinical applications. 3rd ed. (pp. 399–415). New York, NY: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Allen, J. P., Porter, M., McFarland, C., McElhaney, K. B., & Marsh, P. (2007). The relation of attachment security to adolescents’ paternal and peer relationships, depression, and externalizing behavior. Child Development, 78(4), 1222–1239. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8624.2007.01062.x.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Bakermans-Kranenburg, M. J., & van IJzendoorn, M. H. (2016). Attachment, parenting and genetics. In J. Cassidy & P. R. Shaver (Eds), Handbook of attachment: theory, research, and clinical applications. 3rd ed. (pp. 154–179). New York, NY: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Berlin, L. J., Zeanah, C. H., & Lieberman, A. F. (2016). Prevention and Intervention Programs to support Early Attachment Security. A move to the level of Communitiy. In Handook of Attachment: Theory, Research and Clinical Implications (3rd ed., pp. 739–758). Guilford Press, New York, NY.Google Scholar
- Belsky, J. (2005). Differential susceptibility to rearing influence: an evolutionary hypothesis and some evidence. In B. J. Ellis & D. F. Bjorklund (Eds), Origins of the social mind: evolutionary psychology and child development (pp. 139–163). New York, NY: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Boutelle, K., Eisenberg, M. E., Gregory, M. L., & Neumark-Sztainer, D. (2009). The reciprocal relationship between parent–child connectedness and adolescent emotional functioning over 5 years. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 66(4), 309–316. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychores.2008.10.019.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Bowlby, J. (1973). Attachment and loss. in separation (vol. 2). New York, NY: Basic Books.Google Scholar
- Branje, S. J. T., Hale, W. W., Frijns, T., & Meeus, W. H. J. (2010). Longitudinal associations between perceived parent-child relationship quality and depressive symptoms in adolescence. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 38(6), 751–763. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10802-010-9401-6.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Cohen, J. R., Hankin, B. L., Gibb, B. E., Hammen, C., Hazel, N. A., Ma, D., & Abela, J. R. Z. (2013). Negative attachment cognitions and emotional distress in mainland Chinese adolescents: a prospective multiwave test of vulnerability-stress and stress generation models. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 42(4), 531–544. https://doi.org/10.1080/15374416.2012.749787.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Coyne, J. (1999). The interactional nature of depression: advances in interpersonal approaches. Washington (DC): American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
- Dagnino, P., Pérez, C., Gómez, A., Gloger, S., & Krause, M. (2017). Depression and attachment: how do personality styles and social support influence this relation? Research in Psychotherapy: Psychopathology, Process and Outcome, 20(1), 53–62.Google Scholar
- DeKlyen, M., & Greenberg, M. T. (2016). Attachment and psychopathology in childhood. In J. Cassidy & P. R. Shaver (Eds), Handbook of attachment: theory, research, and clinical applications. 3rd ed. (pp. 639–666). New York, NY: Guildford Press.Google Scholar
- Del Barrio, M. V., Moreno, C., & López, R. (1999). El children’s depression inventory (CDI; Kovacs, 1992). Su aplicación en población española [the children’s depression inventory (CDI; Kovacs, 1992) in a Spanish sample]. Clínica y Salud, 10, 393–416.Google Scholar
- Duchesne, S., & Ratelle, C. F. (2014). Attachment security to mothers and fathers and the developmental trajectories of depressive symptoms in adolescence: which parent for which trajectory? Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 43(4), 641–654. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-013-0029-z.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Fearon, & Belsky, F. (2016). Precursors of attachment security. In J. Cassidy & P. R. Shaver (Eds), Handbook of attachment: theory, research, and clinical applications. 3rd ed. (pp. 291–313). New York, NY: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Fearon, R. M. P., Groh, A. M., Bakermans-Kranenburg, M. J., van Ijzendoorn, M. H., & Roisman, G. I. (2016). Attachment and developmental psychopathology. In D. Chicchetti (Ed.), Developmental psychopathology: theory and method (pp. 325–384). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Ferreiro, F., Seoane, G., & Senra, C. (2012). Gender-related risk and protective factors for depressive symptoms and disordered eating in adolescence: a 4-year longitudinal study. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 41(5), 607–622. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-011-9718-7.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Futh, A., O’Connor, T. G., Matias, C., Green, J., & Scott, S. (2008). Attachment narratives and behavioral and emotional symptoms in an ethnically diverse, at-risk sample. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 47(6), 709–718. https://doi.org/10.1097/CHI.0b013e31816bff65.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Groh, A. M., Narayan, A. J., Bakermans-Kranenburg, M. J., Roisman, G. I., Vaughn, B. E., Fearon, R. M. P., & van IJzendoorn, M. H. (2017). Attachment and temperament in the early life course: a meta-analytic Review. Child Development, 88(3), 770–795. https://doi.org/10.1111/cdev.12677.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Groh, A. M., Roisman, G. I., Booth-LaForce, C., Fraley, R. C., Owen, M. T., Cox, M. J., & Burchinal, M. R. (2014). IV. Stability of attachment security from infancy to late adolescence. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 79(3), 51–66. https://doi.org/10.1111/mono.12113.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Groh, A. M., Roisman, G. I., van Ijzendoorn, M. H., Bakermans-Kranenburg, M. J., & Fearon, R. P. (2012). The significance of insecure and disorganized attachment for children’s internalizing symptoms: a meta-analytic study. Child Development, 83(2), 591–610. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8624.2011.01711.x.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Hankin, B. L., Young, J. F., Abela, J. R. Z., Smolen, A., Jenness, J. L., Gulley, L. D., & Oppenheimer, C. W. (2015). Depression from childhood into late adolescence: Influence of gender, development, genetic susceptibility, and peer stress. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 124(4), 803–816. https://doi.org/10.1037/abn0000089.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Hilt, L., & Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (2009). The emergence of gender differences in depression in adolescence. In S. Nolen-Hoeksema & L. M. Hilt (Eds), Handbook of depression in adolescents. New York, NY: Taylor & Francis Group.Google Scholar
- Instituto Galego de Estatística. (2017). Galicia en cifras. Xunta de Galicia. https://www.ige.eu/web/mostrar_seccion.jsp?idioma=es&codigo=0501.
- Jones, J. D., Fraley, R. C., Ehrlich, K. B., Stern, J. A., Lejuez, C. W., Shaver, P. R., & Cassidy, J. (2018). Stability of attachment style in adolescence: an empirical test of alternative developmental processes. Child Development, 89(3), 871–880. https://doi.org/10.1111/cdev.12775.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Kovacs, M. (1992). The children’s depression inventory (CDI). Manual. Toronto: Multi Health Systems.Google Scholar
- Lamb, M. E., & Lewis (2011). The role of parent-child relationships in child development. In M. H. Bornstein & M. E. Lamb (Eds), Developmental science: an advanced textbook. 6th ed. (pp. 469–501). New York, NY: Taylor & Francis Group.Google Scholar
- Lee, A., & Hankin, B. L. (2009). Insecure attachment, dysfunctional attitudes, and low self-esteem predicting prospective symptoms of depression and anxiety during adolescence. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 38(2), 219–231. https://doi.org/10.1080/15374410802698396.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Lewis, A. J., Kremer, P., Douglas, K., Toumborou, J. W., Hameed, M. A., Patton, G. C., & Williams, J. (2015). Gender differences in adolescent depression: Differential female susceptibility to stressors affecting family functioning. Australian Journal of Psychology, 67(3), 131–139. https://doi.org/10.1111/ajpy.12086.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Madigan, S., Brumariu, L. E., Villani, V., Atkinson, L., & Lyons-Ruth, K. (2016). Representational and questionnaire measures of attachment: A meta-analysis of relations to child internalizing and externalizing problems. Psychological Bulletin, 142(4), 367–99. https://doi.org/10.1037/bul0000029.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Muthén, B. O., & Muthén, L. K. (1998). Mplus user’s guide. Los Angeles: Muthén & Muthén. 2018.Google Scholar
- Pardo, M. E., Pineda, S., Carrillo, S., & Castro, J. (2006). Análisis psicométrico del inventario de apego con padres y pares en una muestra de adolescentes Colombianos. Interamerican Journal of Psychology, 40, 289–302.Google Scholar
- Polce-Lynch, M., Myers, B. J., Kliewer, W., & Kilmartin, C. (2001). Adolescent self-esteem and gender: exploring relations to sexual harassment, body image, media influence, and emotional expression. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 30(2), 225–244. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1010397809136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Rosenthal, N. L., & Kobak, R. (2010). Assessing adolescents’ attachment hierarchies: differences across developmental periods and associations with individual adaptation. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 20(3), 678–706. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1532-7795.2010.00655.x.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Rudolph, K. D. (2009). The interpersonal context of adolescent depression. In S. Nolen-Hoeksema & L. M. Hilt (Eds), Handbook of depression in adolescents (pp. 377–418). New York, NY: Taylor & Francis Group.Google Scholar
- Satorra, A. (2000). Scaled and adjusted restricted tests in multi-sample analysis of moment structures. In R. D. H. Heijmans, D. S. G. Pollock & A. Satorra (Eds), Innovations in multivariate statistical analysis. a Festschrift for Heinz Neudecker (pp. 233–247). London: Kluwer Academic.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Scholte, R. H. J., Engels, R. C. M. E., Overbeek, G., de Kemp, R. A. T., & Haselager, G. J. T. (2007). Stability in bullying and victimization and its association with social adjustment in childhood and adolescence. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 35(2), 217–228. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10802-006-9074-3.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Skoog, T., Bayram Özdemir, S., & Stattin, H. (2016). Understanding the link between pubertal timing in girls and the development of depressive symptoms: the role of sexual harassment. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 45(2), 316–327. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-015-0292-2.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Vaughn, B., & Bost, K. K. (2016). Attachment and temperament as intersecting developmental products and interacting developmental contexts throughout infancy and childhood. In J. Cassidy & P. R. shaver (Eds), Handbook of attachment: theory, research and clinical applications. 3rd ed. (pp. 202–222). New York, NY: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Wichstrøm, L., Penelo, E., Rensvik Viddal, K., de la Osa, N., & Ezpeleta, L. (2018). Explaining the relationship between temperament and symptoms of psychiatric disorders from preschool to middle childhood: hybrid fixed and random effects models of Norwegian and Spanish children. The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines, 59(3), 285–295. https://doi.org/10.1111/jcpp.12772.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Young, J. F., Berenson, K., Cohen, P., & Garcia, J. (2005). The role of parental and peer support in predicting adolescent depression: A longitudinal community study. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 15(4), 407–423.Google Scholar