The mediation effect of present caregiver attachment function on the association between early childhood attachment and self-acceptance abilities among older adolescents

[Speaker] Hokao, Ayuko:1
[Co-author] Ikegami, Tomoko:1
1:Osaka City University (Japan)

From the perspective of attachment theory, we tested the following hypotheses: (1) if people form secure attachments with their caregivers during early childhood, they can maintain their sense of self-acceptance when faced with undesirable aspects of themselves later in adolescence and (2) this early attachment moderation effect is mediated by their caregivers' present attachment functions. We conducted a questionnaire study with 107 Japanese undergraduates, in which we assessed discrepancies between the ideal and real selves, early childhood attachment, caregivers' present attachment functions, and degrees of self-acceptance. As predicted, the sense of self-acceptance was not impaired by ideal-real self-discrepancies among those who formed secure attachments during early childhood. Moreover, the secure attachment moderation effect was mediated by caregivers' present attachment functions. These results suggest that attachment with caregivers serves to buffer threats of the undesirable aspects of the self, thus enabling us to accept ourselves as we are.
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