Attachment style, coping strategies and behavioral problems among adolescents in residential care  

Biro V., Babity M., Nagy L.
First author's affiliation: University of Pecs, Pecs, Hungary

From the beginning of life, love is as important for the emotional developing like food for physical development. For a baby it is important to be sure that it can rely on her nurse in any case. Those children who miss his/her mother’s love are unable to develop normal emotional relationship with other people (Hazan & Shaver, 1987). According to surveys (Shechory & Sommerfeld, 2007) children who get into residential care after the age of 7 have a higher level of depression, anxiety, and they have more social problems compared to children who are taken into care system earlier. It is well known that the time they spend in residential care is related to the level and the types of their behavioural problems. Two samples of adolescent students who ranged in age from 10 to 13 and 14 to 18 years were investigated. Among the participants there were children living in families and foster care. The attachment was measured with IPPA-R. In our survey, good internal consistency was found for the IPPA with Cronbach’s alpha coefficients for all sub-scales. The behavioural problems were registered with the CBCL self-report questionnaire. Our results show that adolescents living in residential care exhibit higher levels of depression and anxiety. The coping strategies were measured with the CISS-48. When adolescents use coping strategies, those living in residential care (both boys and girls) prefer emotional strategies. Avoiding strategies are used mainly by boys living in residential care, and problem-focused coping is characteristic for children (both boys and girls) living in families.