Parental bonding and depression: Personality as a mediating factor
According to Bowlby's theory of attachment, the role of early experience and parenting is of crucial importance to child development and mental health. In addition, several research findings suggest that parental bonding and different types of attachment play a crucial role in personality development. The present study examines the association between parental bonding experiences (lack of parental care, overprotection or both) and depression during adulthood. The objective of the present study was to evaluate different personality dimensions as possible mediators of the relation between perceptions of parental bonding and depressive symptoms in adult life. Methods: 181 participants (15-49 years old) completed the Parental Bonding Instrument (PBI), the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and the 16 Personality Factor Questionnaire (16PF). Results: The results show that lack of parental care and overprotection is linked with depressive symptoms and a number of personality characteristics, such as low self-esteem, introversion, distress and emotional instability. In contrast, high care and low protection (optimal bonding) is linked with increased self-confidence, less distress and less depressive symptoms. Conclusions: The results presented here are in line with Bowlby's theory of attachment and show that parental bonding is linked with problematic personality development and psychopathology. The present study provided evidence that personality factors may mediate the observed relationship between parental rearing style and depression. The potential causal mechanisms warrant longitudinal evaluation. ©Freund Publishing House Ltd.
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