Preliminary evidence that thoughts of thwarted belongingness mediate the relations between level of attachment insecurity and depression and suicide-related thoughts in inpatient adolescents

Amanda Venta, William Mellick, Dawnelle Schatte, Carla Sharp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

There are well-documented associations between adolescent depression, suicide- related thoughts, and interpersonal functioning, which include identified relations between these variables and insecure attachment. Dykas and Cassidy (2011) recently reframed traditional attachment theory into a social information processing model in which early caregiver experiences produce secure or insecure attachment-related schemas which, in turn, lead to biased social information processing. This model echoes Beck's cognitive theory, which suggests that negative schemas arise from negative experiences and act on daily life through negative thoughts about the self, the world, and others. No one has extended Dykas and Cassidy's (2011) model to the level of attachment-related thoughts to explore how attachment-related schemas relate to depressive cognitions. In this study, we sought preliminary evidence for this hypothesis with two specific aims. First, we sought to determine whether the relation between level of attachment security and depression was mediated by thoughts of thwarted belongingness and perceived burdensomeness, constructs of Joiner's Interpersonal Psychological theory. Second, we sought to evaluate whether the same constructs mediated the relation between level of attachment security and suicide-related thoughts. Analyses conducted with N = 124 inpatient adolescents revealed that level of maternal attachment insecurity was significantly correlated with thwarted belongingness, depression, and suicide-related thoughts. Thwarted belongingness mediated the relation between level of maternal attachment security and depression as well as the relation between attachment security and suicide-related thoughts. Thus, interpersonal risk factors for depression and suicide-related thoughts, like level of attachment insecurity, may be mitigated by addressing thoughts associated with thwarted belongingness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)428-447
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Social and Clinical Psychology
Volume33
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

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Suicide
Inpatients
Depression
Automatic Data Processing
Mothers
Psychological Theory
Cognition
Caregivers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Psychology

Cite this

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title = "Preliminary evidence that thoughts of thwarted belongingness mediate the relations between level of attachment insecurity and depression and suicide-related thoughts in inpatient adolescents",
abstract = "There are well-documented associations between adolescent depression, suicide- related thoughts, and interpersonal functioning, which include identified relations between these variables and insecure attachment. Dykas and Cassidy (2011) recently reframed traditional attachment theory into a social information processing model in which early caregiver experiences produce secure or insecure attachment-related schemas which, in turn, lead to biased social information processing. This model echoes Beck's cognitive theory, which suggests that negative schemas arise from negative experiences and act on daily life through negative thoughts about the self, the world, and others. No one has extended Dykas and Cassidy's (2011) model to the level of attachment-related thoughts to explore how attachment-related schemas relate to depressive cognitions. In this study, we sought preliminary evidence for this hypothesis with two specific aims. First, we sought to determine whether the relation between level of attachment security and depression was mediated by thoughts of thwarted belongingness and perceived burdensomeness, constructs of Joiner's Interpersonal Psychological theory. Second, we sought to evaluate whether the same constructs mediated the relation between level of attachment security and suicide-related thoughts. Analyses conducted with N = 124 inpatient adolescents revealed that level of maternal attachment insecurity was significantly correlated with thwarted belongingness, depression, and suicide-related thoughts. Thwarted belongingness mediated the relation between level of maternal attachment security and depression as well as the relation between attachment security and suicide-related thoughts. Thus, interpersonal risk factors for depression and suicide-related thoughts, like level of attachment insecurity, may be mitigated by addressing thoughts associated with thwarted belongingness.",
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