Disorganized behavior in adolescent-parent interaction: relations to attachment state of mind, partner abuse, and psychopathology

Child Dev. Jan-Feb 2014;85(1):370-87. doi: 10.1111/cdev.12113. Epub 2013 Apr 28.

Abstract

Disoriented, punitive, and caregiving/role-confused attachment behaviors are associated with psychopathology in childhood, but have not been assessed in adolescence. A total of 120 low-income late adolescents (aged 18-23 years) and parents were assessed in a conflict-resolution paradigm. Their interactions were coded with the Goal-Corrected Partnership in Adolescence Coding Scales. Confirmatory factor analysis demonstrated that the three disorganized constructs (punitive, caregiving, and disoriented interaction) were best represented as distinct factors and were separable from a fourth factor for collaboration. The four factors were then assessed in relation to measures of attachment disorganization, partner abuse, and psychopathology. Results indicate that forms of disorganized behavior first described in early childhood can also be reliably assessed in adolescence and are associated with maladaptive outcomes across multiple domains.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • Adult
  • Family Conflict / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / psychology*
  • Mothers / psychology
  • Object Attachment*
  • Parent-Child Relations*
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Spouse Abuse / psychology
  • Young Adult