Changes in parenting behaviors, attachment, depressive symptoms, and suicidal ideation in attachment-based family therapy for depressive and suicidal adolescents

Maya S. Shpigel, Gary M. Diamond, Guy S. Diamond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study examined whether Attachment-Based Family Therapy (ABFT) was associated with decreases in maternal psychological control and increases in maternal psychological autonomy granting, and whether such changes were associated with changes in adolescents' attachment schema and psychological symptoms. Eighteen suicidal adolescents and their mothers received 12weeks of ABFT. Maternal psychological control and autonomy granting behaviors were observationally coded at sessions 1 and 4. Adolescents' reports of perceived maternal care and control, attachment-related anxiety and avoidance, and depressive symptoms and suicidal ideation were collected at baseline, 6, 12weeks (posttreatment), and 36weeks. Results indicated that from session 1 to session 4, maternal psychological control decreased and maternal psychological autonomy granting increased. Increases in maternal autonomy granting were associated with increases in adolescents' perceived parental care from pre to mid-treatment and decreases in attachment-related anxiety and avoidance from pre to 3months posttreatment. Finally, decreases in adolescents' perceived parental control during the treatment were associated with reductions in adolescents' depressive symptoms from pretreatment to 12weeks posttreatment. This is the first study examining the putative change mechanisms in ABFT.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-283
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Marital and Family Therapy
Volume38
Issue numberSUPPL.1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2012

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