Exploring the Role of Attachment Style in the Relation between Family Aggression and Abuse in Adolescent Dating Relationships
These authors investigated (a) romantic attachment style as a potential moderator of the link between family aggression and dating aggression, and (b) its relations with two documented mediators of the impact of interparental conflict on dating behavior (beliefs about the justifiability of aggression, and anger regulation). Participants were 391 high school students (age 14 to 18 years) who were diverse in terms of both ethnicity and socioeconomic status. Attachment style was a significant moderator for boys and girls, but the pattern of results differed by gender. In general, attachment anxiety was a more consistent predictor than avoidance of boys' dating aggression, cognitions, and emotions, whereas anxiety and avoidance both acted as significant moderators for girls. These results suggest that youths' romantic attachment style can amplify or attenuate the impact of family aggression on abusive behavior in dating relationships by influencing their beliefs about the acceptability of aggression and their ability to regulate anger. The authors suggest two additional directions for further research. Modified Author Abstract.