Gender differences in attachment in youth involved with the street: an exploratory study

Storey, David P. (2022) Gender differences in attachment in youth involved with the street: an exploratory study. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Youth involved in the street (YIS) suffer from higher rates of attachment insecurity, childhood maltreatment, and psychopathology than their non-street involved peers, yet little is known about how boy and girl YIS differ in their expression of attachment. The aim of this study was to explore the relationship between gender, attachment orientation, childhood maltreatment, and psychopathology in a sample of YIS to generate hypotheses for future research and inform targeted therapeutic interventions in this underserved population. The study combined data from two previously collected samples of youth (108 total: 41 girls, 67 boys), aged 15 to 24, recruited from a community non-profit organization in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, who were administered validated self-report measures of attachment orientation, childhood maltreatment, and psychopathology. Statistical analyses included one-way multivariate analyses of variance (MANOVA), independent samples t tests, and multiple regressions using a running-interval smooth. The analysis revealed that girl YIS report significantly higher rates of attachment anxiety and childhood maltreatment, but comparable rates of attachment avoidance and psychopathology relative to boy YIS. Rates of attachment anxiety strongly predict rates of attachment avoidance in girl but not boy YIS; further, this is expressed in a strongly curvilinear fashion. Implications of these findings are discussed relative to gender-based theories of attachment and the provision of targeted mental health interventions in YIS.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 15507
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 62-70).
Keywords: at-risk youth, adolescents, street-involved youth, gender, attachment, ECR-R, psychopathology, BSI, SCL-90-R, childhood maltreatment
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Psychology
Science, Faculty of > Psychology
Date: April 2022
Date Type: Submission
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Street youth--Newfoundland and Labrador--St. John’s; Problem youth--Newfoundland and Labrador--St. John’s; Youth with social disabilities--Newfoundland and Labrador--St. John’s; Child abuse--Newfoundland and Labrador--St. John’s; Psychology, Pathological; Attachment behavior--Newfoundland and Labrador--St. John’s.

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