Avoidant romantic attachment in adolescence: Gender, excessive internet use and romantic relationship engagement effects

Vasileios Stavropoulos, Stefanos Mastrotheodoros*, Tyrone L. Burleigh, Nicole Papadopoulos, Rapson Gomez

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Romantic development is a distinctive characteristic of puberty. However, a significant proportion of adolescents present with avoidant romantic attachment (ARA) tendencies, which have significant impact on their general adaptation. ARA variations have been suggested in relation to age, gender, engagement with a romantic partner and Excessive Internet Use (EIU) behaviours. In this longitudinal, two-wave study of a normative sample of 515 Greek adolescents at 16 and 18 years, ARA was assessed with the relevant subscale of the Experiences in Close Relationships-Revised and EIU with the Internet Addiction Test. A three-level hierarchical linear model found ARA tendencies to decrease between 16 and 18 while engagement in a romantic relationship and EIU were associated with lower and higher ARA tendencies respectively. Gender did not differentiate ARA severity either at the age of 16 or its changes over time. Results highlight the need of adopting a longitudinal-contextualized approach and provide implications for prevention and intervention initiatives in relation to the romantic development of adolescents.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0201176
Number of pages22
JournalPLoS One
Volume13
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jul 2018

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