Adolescent-parent attachment and externalizing behavior: the mediating role of individual and social factors.

L.A. de Vries, M. Hoeve, G.J.J.M. Stams, J.J. Asscher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The aim of this study was to test whether the associations between adolescent-parent attachment and externalizing problem behavior of adolescents were mediated by adolescent cognitive distortions, self-esteem, parental monitoring and association with deviant peers. A total of 102 adolescents (71 % male; aged 12–19 years) at risk for developing delinquent behaviors reported on attachment, parental monitoring, aggressive and delinquent behavior and peers. Mediation effects were tested by using structural equation modeling. Different pathways were found depending on the type of externalizing behavior. The association between attachment and direct and indirect aggressive behavior was mediated by cognitive distortions. The relation between attachment and delinquency was mediated by deviant peers and parental monitoring. We argue that clinical practice should focus on the attachment relationship between adolescent and parents in order to positively affect risk and protective factors for adolescents’ aggressive and delinquent behavior.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283–294
JournalJournal of Abnormal Child Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • attachment
  • externalizing behavior
  • self-esteem
  • cognitive distortions
  • deviant peers
  • parental monitoring


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