Attachment behavior and hostility as explanatory factors linking parent–adolescent conflict and adolescent adjustment.

This study examined whether adolescents’ behavior in a support-seeking context helped to explain associations between increases in mother–adolescent conflict during early adolescence and changes in adolescents’ internalizing and externalizing symptoms. A sample of 194 adolescents aged 12 to 14 (51% female) and their mothers were followed over 1 year. Mother–adolescent pairs participated in a speech task introducing an external social stressor into the parent–child relationship. Using a latent difference score model, adolescents’ observed attachment behavior and hostility were compared as potential explanatory processes. Analyses suggest specificity in the spillover process from conflict to adolescent behavior in a nonconflictual parent–child interaction context, with hostility uniquely linking increasing mother–adolescent conflict and externalizing problems, and disruptions in adolescent attachment behavior uniquely explaining the link with internalizing problems. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)