Understanding the association between parental attachment and loneliness among adolescents: The mediating role of self-esteem

Abstract

The literature highlights that there is a negative relationship between parental attachment and loneliness. However, little is known about the possible mechanisms underlying the relationship between them. Therefore, the current study intended to fill the gap in the literature by investigating whether self-esteem mediated the relationship between parental attachment and loneliness among adolescents. It was also tested whether the proposed model differed according to sex and changed with age. Using a cross-sectional design, the current study was conducted with a sample of 406 adolescents (209 female/ 197 male; Meanage = 15.97, SDage = 1.05, range = 14–18). The findings of the study showed that loneliness was negatively associated with parental attachment and self-esteem. Also, a higher quality of attachment to parents was associated with greater self-esteem. The findings also demonstrated that self-esteem served as a mediator variable in the relationship between parental attachment and loneliness among adolescents. Lastly, the multiple-group analyses demonstrated that the nature of the relationships between the investigated variables did not vary with adolescents’ age and sex. This picture suggests that adolescents with low parental attachment have a higher risk of developing lower level self-esteem, which may, in turn, lead to loneliness.

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Data Availability

The datasets analyzed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

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Appendices

Appendix 1

Table 1 α, M, SD, K, S, and correlations of all variables

Appendix 2

Table 2 The results of bootstrap analysis examining the statistical significance of direct and indirect effects of the structural equality model

Appendix 3

Fig. 1
figure1

The structural equation model analysis conducted to explore the pathways between parental attachment, self-esteem, and loneliness. Path coefficients concerning females and males were presented in parentheses, respectively. The factor loadings are standardized. *p < .05, **p < .01, ***p < .001

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Karababa, A. Understanding the association between parental attachment and loneliness among adolescents: The mediating role of self-esteem. Curr Psychol (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-021-01417-z

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Keywords

  • Parental attachment
  • Self-esteem
  • Loneliness
  • Adolescence