23 Mar 2015
Current study attempts to employ John Bowlby's attachment theory Albert Bandura's self efficacy theory in order to study the influence of parental and peer attachment, and self efficacy on depression among Chinese adolescents.
Attachment theory was being extended from the focus on infancy towards older children especially the affection bonding between parents and children. The theory highlighted behaviors as the underlying actions that strive for natural survival by connecting and keeping close relationship with caregivers, current research will be referring to the relationships between parents and the adolescents. The relationship between parents and children continue to stabilize with toleration on separation. However, during adolescence, children tend to seek more companionship which give them more benefits and advantageous of being in a group (Ainsworth, 1989). Bowlby (1973) suggested internal working models of attachment as a set of expectations on caregivers of being responsive or not. The internal working model tends to group, organize thoughts and behaviors, regulating emotional feelings, access the storage of experiences accumulated from the relationship with primary caregivers. It then generates the experiences into another new relationship (Bowlby, 1973; Bretherton, 1992). It may prevent the development of depression as internal working models direct children to link the learned experiences into social world (Engels, Finkenauer, Meeus, & Dekovic, 2001). Adolescents with secure attachment with parents reported fewer depressive symptoms; indicating secured adolescents were more likely to have positive efficacy in managing their emotion (Liu, 2006).
Self efficacy lies between the emphasis of observational learning and the development of personality in Social Cognitive Theory (Bandura, Pastorelli, Barbaranelli, & Caprara, 1999). "Self-efficacy is the belief in one's capabilities to organize and execute the sources of action required to manage prospective situations." (Bandura, 1986). The development of depression could be prevented if adolescents believe that they are capable in handling family conflicts or low peer relationships (Huang, et al., 2008).
Parent attachment may serve as a natural foundation to gain survival protection for them. This basement will be then assisting adolescents in developing their attachment in the aspects of companionship or partnerships with friends or having intimate relationship. Adolescents having activities or involved in a group provided advantageous for instance acting as a protector against depression in current study. Studies revealed poor parents-child relations positively associated with low psychological adjustment among adolescents (Gaylord-Harden, Ragsdale, Mandara, Richards, & Petersen, 2007). Milevsky, Schlechter, & Netter, 2007; Plunkett, Henry, Robinson, Behnke, & Falcon III, 2007; )
Bilgin and Akkapulu (2007) research finding showed that adolescents learned to observe their mothers experiences in their interpersonal relationship and transferring some of the learnt experiences to a new relationship; positive values developed through the positive learning process which minimize the occurrence of depression (Plunkett, Henry, Robinson, Behnke, & Falcon III, 2007). Thus, adolescents may apply the social skills learned from the relationship with parents into the interactions between peers.
The importance of self perception is crucial in the psychological development of adolescents. A secure, close relationship with parents and friends may lead to higher perception of self worth that will influence the psychological symptoms (Wilkinson, 2004). The evaluation of self was importance as findings reported that frequents used of emotion regulation strategy associated with low application of cognitive reappraisal among adolescents are in the high level of depressive symptomalogy (Betts, Gullone, & Allen, 2009). In addition, self efficacy also served as the mediator between parents and peer attachment (Coleman, 2003); between social supports and psychological functioning (Bandura, 1993).
Figure 2 represents the conceptual framework for parent attachment, peer attachment, self efficacy and Chinese Adolescents' depression. The current study will look into how the independent variables (parent and peer attachment), mediator variable (self efficacy) having influence on the dependent variable (depression).
This study attempts to employ two theories to understand and explain the conceptual framework from the theoretical perspective. Attachment theory explained the importance of the interrelationships between parents and children by maintaining adolescents' survival. Adolescents may learn and transfer their experiences with parents to other social relationships; in current study will be referring to peer relationships. Self efficacy may serve as the mediator between attachment (parents and peers) and depression.
Lastly, antecedence variables inclusive individual background (age and gender), parent background (parent's age and gender) will be used to describe the background of adolescents.
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