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Special Issue "Parental Attachment and Adolescent Well-Being"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Adolescents".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 January 2022.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Adriana Lis
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Developmental Psychology and Socialisation, University of Padua, 35122 Padua, Italy
Interests: attachment; cross-cultural studies in children and adolescents; personality assessment

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

During adolescence, a multi-system transitional process develops, involving progression from the immaturity and social dependency of childhood into adult life, with the goal and expectation of fulfilled developmental potential, personal agency, social accountability, and integration of self-identity and self-development. It is challenging transition period of rapid and considerable developmental changes, which involves significant transformations in almost every domain of functioning. Significant transformations occur in biological development, in neurological structure and function, and in cognitive development, with an increasing capacity for abstract thinking and problem solving and in metacognitive and representational capacity. Alongside these rapid changes, adolescents enter a new social–psychological phase of life, with an increasing reliance on peers for intimacy and support along with a growing investment in relationships toward becoming more autonomous and independent from family. During periods of rapid development, research shows that parental sensitivity and support are critical in ‘scaffolding’ children to the next level of functioning. For this reason, parents remain a fundamental source of emotional support for their adolescent children.

Adolescence is associated with the onset or exacerbation of a number of health-related problems, including depression, eating disorders, substance dependence, risky sexual abuse and behavior, antisocial and delinquent activity, and dropout from school. Moreover, increased mental health problems in adolescents compromise their development and future potential. Psychological studies have demonstrated that the context in which an individual develops is of great importance in understanding and conceptualizing child developmental constructs. Among the numerous factors which may contribute to adolescents’ mental health problems are family contextual factors on adolescent relationships, such as parenting styles, parenting practices, and attachment relationships. Positive, engaged, sensitive parenting has been uniquely associated with adolescents’ better emotional regulation, fewer conduct problems, and lower emotional distress. Positive parenting includes experiences shared among family members, expressed positive emotions, positive behaviors, expressed warmth, perceived closeness and cohesion, supportiveness, responsiveness, perceived acceptance, and parental attachment security. Specifically, parental attachment refers to an affectional bond with primary caregivers that develops in the early years of life (Bowlby, 1969), but it still continues to influence individual psychological adjustment during adolescence as demonstrated by the association between attachment security and the development of adolescent emotional and problem behaviors in adolescents. In addition, an extensive body of research highlights the links between attachment security in adolescents and their behavioral and psychosocial outcomes later in life. However, new contributions are needed.

This Special Issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (IJERPH) focuses on the current state of knowledge on the links (a) between attachment and other family factors, and (b) between attachment and risk and well-being in adolescence. New research papers, reviews, methodological papers are all welcome.

Dr. Adriana Lis
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • adolescents
  • attachment
  • emotions
  • family assessment
  • family cultural values and orientation
  • family processes
  • parenting styles
  • psychological maladjustment

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

Article
Late Adolescents’ Attachment to Parents and Peers and Psychological Distress Resulting from COVID-19. A Study on the Mediation Role of Alexithymia
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(20), 10649; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182010649 - 11 Oct 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 516
Abstract
The scientific literature has shown the key role played by attachment to parents and peers and difficulties in recognizing, processing, and regulating emotions (i.e., alexithymia) in the (mal-)adaptive psychological response to the COVID-19 pandemic during late adolescence. No study has yet explored the [...] Read more.
The scientific literature has shown the key role played by attachment to parents and peers and difficulties in recognizing, processing, and regulating emotions (i.e., alexithymia) in the (mal-)adaptive psychological response to the COVID-19 pandemic during late adolescence. No study has yet explored the complex interplay between these variables. We recruited a sample of 454 late adolescents (Mage = 22.79, SD = 2.27) and assessed attachment to parents and peers, alexithymia, and peritraumatic distress due to COVID-19 through self-report instruments. Attachment to fathers and peers, but not to mothers, and alexithymia significantly predicted levels of peritraumatic distress. Alexithymia fully and partially mediated the effect of, respectively, attachment to mothers and attachment to peers on peritraumatic distress due to COVID-19. These findings suggested that intervention programs focused on the promotion of peer social relationships, supportive parent–adolescent relationships, and the ability to recognize and discriminate one’s own and others’ emotions are needed in helping late adolescents to face the current health emergency and preventing short- and long-term psychopathological consequences related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Parental Attachment and Adolescent Well-Being)
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Article
A Cross-Cultural Study on Attachment and Adjustment Difficulties in Adolescence: The Mediating Role of Self-Control in Italy, Spain, China, and Poland
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(16), 8827; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18168827 - 21 Aug 2021
Viewed by 839
Abstract
From a socio-ecological perspective, individuals are influenced by the interplay of individual, relational, and societal factors operating as a broader system. Thereby, to support youth adjustment during the critical adolescence period, the interplay between these factors should be investigated. This study aimed to [...] Read more.
From a socio-ecological perspective, individuals are influenced by the interplay of individual, relational, and societal factors operating as a broader system. Thereby, to support youth adjustment during the critical adolescence period, the interplay between these factors should be investigated. This study aimed to investigate cross-cultural differences in adolescents’ maternal and paternal attachment, adolescents’ adjustment difficulties and self-control, and in their association. N = 1000 adolescents (mean (M) age = 16.94, SD = 0.48; 45.90% males) from China, Italy, Spain, and Poland participated by completing self-report measures. Results showed cross-country similarities and differences among the considered variables and their associative pattern. Moreover, conditional process analysis evaluating the association between maternal vs. paternal attachment and adjustment difficulties, mediated by self-control, and moderated by country, was performed. Maternal attachment directly, and indirectly through greater self-control, influenced adjustment difficulties in all four countries. This association was stronger among Spaniards. Paternal attachment influenced directly, and indirectly through self-control, on adolescents’ adjustment difficulties only in Italy, Spain, and Poland, and was stronger among Polish adolescents. For Chinese adolescents, paternal attachment solely associated with adjustment difficulties when mediated by self-control. Thus, results highlighted both similarities and differences across countries in the interplay between maternal vs. paternal attachment and self-control on adolescents’ adjustment difficulties. Implications are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Parental Attachment and Adolescent Well-Being)
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