Romantic Relationship Attachment and Identity Style as Predictors of Adolescent Interpersonal Competence: A Mediation Model
Type of DegreeDissertation
DepartmentHuman Development and Family Studies
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Since interpersonal competence is such a significant predictor of a variety of important outcomes for adolescents, the central goal of the current study was to investigate the developmental factors of attachment style and identity style as predictors of interpersonal competence. In the preliminary analyses, there was a significant, negative association between anxiety and interpersonal competence; however, when avoidance was added to the model, the association between anxiety and interpersonal competence became non-significant. The findings supported our hypothesis that there would be a significant, negative association between the avoidant style and interpersonal competence. A diffuse-orientation was a negative predictor of interpersonal competence, while information-orientation was a positive predictor of interpersonal competence across all analyses. These findings suggest that, controlling for the impact of the other two identity styles, adolescents who are actively exploring their environments in order to make-decisions and problem-solve (high information-orientation) are more interpersonally competent than adolescents who score low on information-orientation. In the current study, two mediation models were examined. The first mediation model predicted that identity styles would mediate the association between attachment styles and interpersonal competence, while an alternative model predicted that attachment styles would mediate the association between identity styles and interpersonal competence. Based on the results of the mediation analyses, the alternative model provided a significantly better fit of the data. The path from information-orientation to interpersonal competence decreased in weight when the mediators (i.e., avoidance and anxiety) were added to the model, indicating partial mediation, and the path from diffuse-orientation to interpersonal competence decreased in weight and significance when the mediators were added to the model, indicating full mediation. Only the path from avoidance to interpersonal competence was significant, which indicates that the associations between information- and normative-orientations to interpersonal competence are mediated by avoidance.