• Attachment and Self-Esteem as Predictors of Anxiety and Depression in Adults with Divorced Parents

      O'Neill, Linda; Penk, Andrew (University of Chester, 2018)
      Research within the parental divorce literature shows that adults who have experienced parental divorce experience higher levels of anxiety and depression. Attempts have been made to identify specific mediating factors associated with anxiety and depression and mixed findings have been reported. This study investigated whether attachment and self-esteem predicted anxiety and depression in an attempt to clarify the role of these factors in the complicated mechanisms associated with the relationship between parental divorce and anxiety and depression. A cross-sectional, between-subjects, survey design was used to assess levels of anxiety and depression (HADS), attachment to significant others (ECR), and self-esteem (RSES) in 329 participants. Significant differences were found in individuals whose parents were divorced, as they showed higher levels of anxiety, depression and avoidance-related attachment, and lower levels of self-esteem when compared to those whose parents’ marriage remained intact. Self-esteem was found to be a unique predictor of anxiety and depression in participants with divorced parents, but attachment to a romantic partner, mother and father was not. Identifying self-esteem as a predictor of anxiety and depression following divorce, provides an opportunity for practitioners to utilise interventions to sustain and build self-esteem around the time parental divorce occurs, as a way to reduce the developmental change that leads to anxiety and depression in the long-term.