The relationship between parent and peer attachment: The role of affect regulation

Stephanie Gail Ehrman, Fordham University

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between parent and peer attachment. It was hypothesized that aspects of affect regulation (Neuroticism, Emotional Sharing, and Positive Affect) would account for some portion of the relationship between parent and peer attachment. ^ Parent-child relationships are generally children's first (and formative) relationships: As such, parent-child relationships are likely to serve as models for all future social and emotional experiences. Affect-regulation has been implicated as influential in the link between parent and peer relations. Affect regulation can be characterized by the capacity to label affects, to contain emotional distress, and to respond behaviorally with adaptive emotional coping. Parent attachment style may exert an indirect effect upon peer attachment through specific coaching and nonspecific modeling of affect-regulation skills. ^ The participants in this study were 114 undergraduate psychology students from the subject pool at Fordham University. Participants demographics were as follows: 78 female, 22% male, mean age of 19 years, 77% Caucasian, 9% Hispanic, 6% Asian, 2% African-American, and 4% described themselves as “Other.” ^ Four inventories were used in this study: The Inventory of Parent and Peer Attachment; the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule; the Emotional Sharing subscale of the COPE; and the Neuroticism subscale of the NEO-Five-Factor Inventory. Note that all scales were administered intact, in their entirety. ^ Standard multiple regression analyses were used to test the direct effects of parent attachment on peer attachment. The indirect effects of parent attachment on peer attachment, mediated by measures of affect regulation, were examined using simultaneous-entry multiple regression strategies in accordance with Baron and Kenny's (1986) criteria for establishing a mediated relationship. Analyses indicated that aspects of affect regulation mediate the relationship between parent and peer attachment. More specifically, this study found that Neuroticism and Emotional Sharing mediated the relationship between Mother and Peer Attachment, while Neuroticism and Positive Affect mediated the relationship between Father and Peer Attachment. Study limitations, as well as various research and clinical implications are presented. Several directions for future research are suggested as well. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Social|Psychology, Clinical

Recommended Citation

Stephanie Gail Ehrman, "The relationship between parent and peer attachment: The role of affect regulation" (January 1, 2003). ETD Collection for Fordham University. Paper AAI3098128.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI3098128

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