Attachment to Parents and Depressive Symptoms in College Students: The Mediating Role of Initial Emotional Adjustment and Psychological Needs

Sanja Smojver-Ažić, Tamara Martinac Dorčić, Ivanka Živčić-Bećirević


The aim of the present study was to explore the role of parental attachment in students' depressive symptoms. We have examined wheather initial emotional adjustment and psychological needs would serve as a mediator of the relationship between attachment dimensions (anxiety and avoidance) and depressive symptoms.
A sample consisted of 219 students (143 females) randomly selected from the University of Rijeka, Croatia, with mean age 19.02 years. Participants provided self-report on the Experiences in Close Relationship Inventory and The Student Adaptation to College Questionnaire at the beginning of the first year of college, and The Basic Psychological Needs Satisfaction Scale and Beck Depression Inventory-II at the third year of college.
Results of hierarchical regression analyses confirm that emotional adjustment had a full mediation effect on anxiety dimension and partial mediation on avoidance dimension. Only a partial mediation effect of psychological needs for autonomy and relatedness between attachment and depressive symptoms was found.
The findings of this study give support to the researches indicating the importance of parental attachment for college students not only through its direct effects on depressive symptoms, but also through effects on the initial emotional adjustment and satisfaction of psychological needs. The results of the mediation analysis suggest that both attachment dimensions and emotional adjustment as well as psychological need satisfaction have a substantial shared variance when predicting depressive symptoms and that each variable also gives a unique contribution to depressive symptoms.


parental attachment; attachment dimensions; psychological needs; depressive symptoms; college students

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