The apple does not fall far from the tree: Attachment styles and personality vulnerabilities to depression in three generations of women

Avi Besser, Beatriz Priel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations

Abstract

The intergenerational transmission of attachment insecurity was examined in a community sample of 300 participants consisting of 100 three-generation triads of women. It was hypothesized that personality vulnerabilities mediate the association between attachment insecurity and depression within each generation. Findings show significant intergenerational congruence of trait vulnerabilities and attachment styles. Moreover, the second generation's attachment dimensions and personality vulnerabilities were found to mediate the association between first- and third-generation scores on attachment and vulnerability variables. Findings supported the following hypothesized within- and between-generation paths: Within generations, self-criticism was found to mediate the association between attachment insecurity and depression; between generations, depression, but not self-criticism, mediated the association between assessments of attachment insecurity in mothers and their daughters. This study constitutes a first approach to the delineation of the role played by self-criticism in the association between negative models of the self and depression across generations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1052-1073
Number of pages22
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Volume31
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2005

Keywords

  • Attachment
  • Dependency
  • Depression
  • Intergenerational transmission
  • Personality vulnerability
  • Self-criticism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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