Date of Award

2022

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

Department

Counseling and School Psychology

First Advisor

Linda Webster

First Committee Member

Justin Low

Second Committee Member

Christina Siller

Abstract

Adolescence is a time when interacting with the opposite sex tends to increase and become more serious, and romantic relationships start to form. However, for some adolescents, specifically adolescents who have an avoidant state of mind in regards to attachment, romantic relationships and particularly intimacy is an experience they may find challenging. Given the importance of intimacy in an adolescent’s life, this study proposes to investigate whether the quality of peer relationships can influence romantic intimacy among adolescents with an avoidant attachment. Friendship quality was chosen as a mediating variable in the present study to examine if the quality of peer relationships positively influences the relationship between avoidant attachment and romantic intimacy among adolescents. Specifically, the present study aims to answer the following research questions: (1) Is avoidant attachment linked to the quality of peer relationships among adolescents? (2) Do peer relationships mediate the relationship between avoidant attachment and romantic intimacy among adolescents? While it is known that avoidant attachment negatively impacts romantic intimacy, there is contradicting evidence suggesting that attachment influences the quality of peer relationships (Boling et al., 2011; Ducharme et al., 2002; Groh et al., 2014; Kerns, 1996; Markiewicz et al., 2001; Schwarz et al., 2012). Some studies show that individuals with an avoidant attachment tend to have difficulty creating and maintaining satisfactory peer relationships and friendships while other studies found no evidence that attachment impacts peer relationships or friendship quality (Boling et al., 2011; Kerns et al., 1996; Schwarz et al., 2012). This study will investigate whether adolescents with an avoidant attachment have poorer quality of peer relationships and whether peer relationships have a positive effect on the relationship between avoidant attachment and romantic intimacy in adolescence. This study will analyze data collected from the National Institute of Child Health and Development – Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development. Structural equation models will be used to test the possibility of quality of peer relationships as a mediator for the relationship between avoidant attachment and romantic intimacy.

Pages

58

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