University of Tasmania
whole_BrownLorraineJean2006_thesis.pdf (15.84 MB)

Psychological functioning in young adulthood : the role of attachment, coping and stress

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posted on 2023-05-26, 22:11 authored by Brown, Lorraine Jean
The impact of negative life stress and coping on psychological functioning has been established by previous research. However, it is only more recently that attachment theory has been examined for both theoretical and clinical contributions to the field. Bartholomew and Horowitz (1991) combined the positive and negative model of self with the positive and negative model of others to form a four-group model of adult attachment. The establishment of links between those with a negative self model (i.e., high anxiety) and internalising psychopathology, and those with a negative model of others (i.e., high avoidance) and externalising psychopathology, would provide further support for this four-group model. In this thesis, an original model is developed to examine the direct and moderated influence of attachment, coping and negative life stress on adaptive functioning, anger and psychopathology. Questionnaires were administered to 204 young adults (aged 18 -30 years) to assess their romantic attachment style, methods of coping, levels of negative life stress in the past 12 months and the impact of these independent variables on self-reported levels of adaptive functioning, anger and psychopathology. Adaptive functioning refers to relationships with friends, romantic partners and family, as well as academic and occupational functioning. The psychopathology measure included assessment of internalising and externalising symptoms, self harm, suicidality, alcohol and drug use, among other psychological symptoms. The relationship between the independent and dependent variables was analysed by hierarchical multiple regressions. A negative model of self (high anxiety) was linked with an increased incidence of internalising disorders, however a negative model of others (high avoidance) was not associated with externalising disorders, but with internalising disorders and to some areas of adaptive functioning. These results provide a further extension of Bartholomew's model, and with the additional psychopathology scales measured, highlight the negative model of self (high anxiety) as most relevant in the development of psychopathology and anger. Support was also found for the hypothesised model, with attachment linked to coping largely in accordance to predictions. The psychopathology results revealed the largely direct effect of negative life stress on psychopathology. The anger results provided support for both a main effects and moderator model, with negative life stress impacting on anger levels directly, and through an interaction with coping. These results represent a significant contribution to the theory and clinical practice, with implications for both future research and clinical intervention.


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Copyright 2006 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s). No access or viewing until 1 January 2009. Thesis (PhD)--University of Tasmania, 2006. Includes bibliographical references

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