Adolescent attachment and decision-making styles
Penner, Valerie M.
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This study focused on issues concerning attachment and decision making styles in three adolescent groupings in the State of New Jersey. Two of these groups are 16-l8 year old students who are currently in placement with the Division of Youth and Family Services, the government agency responsible for child welfare in the State of New Jersey. These groups were contrasted with a group of adolescents who have remained with at least one primary care giver their whole lives. The critical concepts of the study center around the ideas of attachment as formulated by John Bowlby, and decision making theory as formulated by R. H. Johnson. These theories were superimposed onto the process adolescents go through in deciding the career path they plan on taking after high school, and how they go about making that decision.;Results of the study indicate that a significant relationship exists between attachment levels and the care situation of adolescents with the consistent care group scoring highest in terms of attachment to mother, father, and friends. The.05 level of significance was reached for all three of these relationships. These scores were highly correlated possibly indicating the existence of an internal working model operationalized by each subject. There was seemingly some interaction of demographics in that age and gender had significant influence on some of the attachment scores in certain groupings.;No statistical significance was noted in the relationship between type of care and decision making style indicating that the variable was not influenced by the type of care environment the subject had received.;A significant relationship was discovered when the comparison of attachment and decision making style was conducted indicating a strong relationship between low attachment scores and the spontaneous-internal decision making style which is theorized to be the least adaptive of the four theoretical models. Implications for child welfare policy are discussed.