Adolescent attachment and psychopathology

J Consult Clin Psychol. 1996 Apr;64(2):244-53. doi: 10.1037//0022-006x.64.2.244.


The relationships among attachment classification, psychopathology, and personality traits were examined in a group of 60 psychiatrically hospitalized adolescents. The concordance of attachment classification was examined in 27 adolescent-mother pairs. Both adolescent and maternal attachment status were overwhelmingly insecure and were highly concordant. Adolescents showing a dismissing attachment organization were more likely to have a conduct or substance abuse disorder, narcissistic or antisocial personality disorder, and self-reported narcissistic, antisocial, and paranoid personality traits. Adolescents showing a preoccupied attachment organization were more likely to have an affective disorder, obsessive-compulsive, histrionic, borderline or schizotypal personality disorder, and self-reported avoidant, anxious, and dysthymic personality traits. The results support a model of development of psychopathology based partially on relational experiences with parents.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intelligence
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis
  • Mental Disorders / psychology*
  • Object Attachment*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Psychology, Adolescent*
  • Sex Factors