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Attachment hierarchies for Spanish adolescents: family, peers and romantic partner figures

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Background: Attachment Theory has become one of the leading theories in human development. Nonetheless, empirical studies focusing on how attachment unfolds during adolescence are still scarce particularly in Spain, due to the lack of adequate measures. Objective: This study aims to validate the Important People Interview (IPI) in a shorter questionnaire version (Important People- Questionnaire; IP-Q); to analyse the changes in different affiliative bonds to multiple figures -family, peers, romantic partners – over the course of adolescence; and to identify boys’ and girls’ hierarchical ordering of their specific attachment bonds. Method: 1025 Spanish adolescents, aged 12–17 years old completed the IP-Q. Results: The results showed that the IP-Q has convergent and divergent validity. Moreover, this measure indicated that peers overtake some family members in proximity-seeking and support-seeking, but not in the overall hierarchical ordering of the attachment bond during adolescence. Conclusions: The bond with the romantic partner increases in terms of scoring on the affiliative subscales as adolescence progresses. There are significant gender differences among the hierarchy patterns of attachment for boys and girls. Developmental changes in adolescent attachment are discussed.
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Keywords: Adolescence; affiliative bonds; attachment hierarchies; ex-post facto study; important people-questionnaire

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Dpto. de Psicología, University of Cordoba, Córdoba, Spain 2: Department of Psychology, Social Work & Counselling, University of Greenwich, London, UK

Publication date: November 2, 2019

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