Relationships between attachment, family-of-origin characteristics and personality variables
Clemens, Kristin Ann
MetadataShow full item record
Relationships between mother and father attachment, family functioning variables and personality patterns/clinical syndromes were examined in a nonclinical sample of 275 undergraduate college students. Participants completed the Inventory of Parent and Peer Attachment (IPPA; Armsden & Greenberg, 1987), the Family Background Questionnaire (FBQ; Melchert, 1998), and the Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory–III (MCMI-III; Millon, 1997). The study focused on the following parental/familial variables: Attachment, Responsiveness, Acceptance, Physical Abuse, Neglect, Educational Involvement, Decision Making Style, Expression of Affect, and Substance Abuse, and the following clinical variables: Avoidant, Dependent, Histrionic, Narcissistic, Antisocial, Compulsive, Borderline, Paranoid, Anxiety, Alcohol and Drug Dependence, and Depression. Preliminary multivariate analyses of variance found significant effects for gender on the FBQ and MCMI-III scales, significant effects for ethnicity and family religiosity on the IPPA, FBQ and MCMI-III scales, and significant effects for parental divorce status on the IPPA and FBQ scales (p <.01, two-tailed). Pearson product-moment correlations found significant relationships among the study variables (p <.01, two-tailed). In general, higher scores on family background scales and more secure parental attachment were associated with lower Avoidant, Dependent, Antisocial, Borderline, Paranoid, Anxiety, Depression, and Alcohol and Drug Dependence scores. Unexpectedly, higher scores on family background scales and more secure parental attachment were associated with higher Compulsive and Histrionic scores. There were not significant correlations found between family background or parental attachment and Narcissistic traits. Furthermore, more secure parental attachment was associated with higher scores on family background variables. Data obtained through hierarchical multiple regression analysis also suggested that family functioning did not significantly add to the explanation of variance in the personality pattern/clinical syndrome variables beyond that which could be explained by parental attachment (p <.001, two-tailed). Also, interaction between mother and father attachment and family functioning did not significantly predict variance in the personality patterns/clinical syndrome variables beyond that which could be explained by mother and father attachment and family functioning alone. Findings suggest the importance of parental attachment security as a predictor of personality traits and clinical syndromes in college students (p <.001, two-tailed). Implications for therapeutic interventions are discussed.