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ERIC Number: ED512756
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1998
Pages: 150
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-0-5917-8609-5
Depressive Vulnerability in College-Aged Females: Relation to Separation-Individuation
Perlman, Jennifer R.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Temple University
The purpose of this study was to investigate the organization of associations among college-aged women's perceptions of individual and family-level separation-individuation difficulties and two subtypes of depressive vulnerability proposed by Blatt. One type is focused on achievement and issues of self-worth; the other type is focused on interpersonal issues and dependency. Drawing upon the framework of developmental psychopathology, patterns of dysfunction were examined towards the end of the developmental transition of separation-individuation. This is a period when issues of autonomy and connection are intensified. Concurrent associations among aspects of perceived relationships with parents, separation-individuation, and vulnerability to self-critical and interpersonal depression were explored. Female college students (n = 210) completed measures of perceived relationships with parents (Parental Attachment Questionnaire, Psychological Control Scale, Emotional Autonomy Scale), the Separation-Individuation Test of Adolescence, and the Depressive Experiences Questionnaire. Standard and hierarchical multiple regression analyses were used to test the multiple correlations among the variables. Regression analyses showed support for the view that separation-individuation mediated the relationship between perceived relationships with parents and vulnerability to depression. Distinct patterns of perceived relationships with parents and separation-individuation resolution were associated with self-critical and interpersonal depressive vulnerability. The two patterns of separation-individuation resolution we observed resembled the "states of mind" assessed on the Adult Attachment Interview describing dismissing and preoccupied attachment organizations. Self-critical vulnerability was associated with perceptions of parents as both psychologically controlling and unavailable as a secure base of attachment. Self-critically vulnerable young women had negative models of relationships, and they resolved separation-individuation issues in a way which emphasized separateness. Like individuals with a dismissing attachment organization, they tended to deny the importance of closeness, expected significant others to be rejecting and unreliable, and feared abandonment. Interpersonally vulnerable young women perceived their parents as psychologically controlling. These individuals showed a pattern of separation-individuation characterized by an emphasis on the maintenance of connections at the expense of autonomy. Comparable to individuals with a preoccupied attachment organization, they showed high levels of concern about potential separation and abandonment. The results provide some evidence of the congruence between internal mental representations of significant relationships and depressive subtypes in Blatt's theory. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A