Note:  Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Anna Beth Doyle, Department of Psychology, Concordia University, 1455 de Maisonneuve Blvd. West, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, H3G 1M8. E-mail: [email protected]
Abstract: This paper examines the quality of attachment to father, mother and close others in early adolescence and associations with adolescents' later self-perceived peer competence. Early adolescents (n=205) reported their anxious and avoidant attachment (Brennan, Clark, & Shaver, 1998) to mother, father and close others twice, one year apart. Perceived competence with same-sex peers and general self-esteem were assessed two years later. Adolescents were more anxious about close others' availability than mothers' and fathers' availability; moreover, overall anxious attachment decreased over time. Girls were more avoidant of fathers than of mothers or of others; girls were as avoidant of fathers as boys were of all three attachment figures. Avoidant attachment with father was associated much less strongly with mother avoidance for girls than for boys. Avoidant attachment with father was associated negatively with adolescents' perceived same-sex peer competence two years later, controlling for self-esteem, whereas mother attachment was not. These findings indicate the unique and important role of adolescents' attachment to father, despite his low position in the hierarchy of attachment figures.