Autonomy, attachment and psychosocial adjustment during adolescence: a double-edged sword?

J Adolesc. 1999 Dec;22(6):771-83. doi: 10.1006/jado.1999.0269.


Both autonomy and attachment are positively related to psychosocial adjustment during adolescence. The aim of the present study was to examine the assumption that a high level of autonomy within a context of attachment provides the best constellation for psychosocial adjustment. Subjects were 400 adolescents. Attitudinal, emotional and functional autonomy were connected with attachment to father, mother and peers to predict indices of psychosocial adjustment: social competence, academic competence, self-esteem, problem behaviour and depressive mood. Only main effects of autonomy and attachment were found. There was no evidence for an extra positive effect of being both autonomous and strongly attached.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Female
  • Freedom*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Object Attachment*
  • Parent-Child Relations*
  • Population Surveillance
  • Psychology, Adolescent*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Sampling Studies
  • Self Concept*
  • Self Disclosure
  • Social Adjustment*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires