Parents’ attachment anxiety and preoccupation with their child’s social functioning: The moderating role of social rejection and acceptance

Dana Azani Sadka, Guy Doron, Mario Mikulincer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In three studies, we examined the contribution of parents’ attachment anxiety to preoccupation with their child’s social functioning and the moderating role of social rejection and acceptance. In Study 1 (N = 191), we assessed parents’ attachment anxiety, retrospective accounts of peer rejection at school, and obsession regarding their child’s social competence. In Study 2 (N = 186), we asked parents to listen and reflect on a podcast about social rejection or acceptance and examined the effects of these manipulations (vs. a control condition) on parents’ worry about their child’s flaws in the social domain. In Study 3 (N = 226), we examined the effects of the above manipulations on parents’ tendency to expect and overreact to their child’s peer rejection. Across the three studies, parents’ attachment anxiety was associated with more preoccupation with their child’s social functioning. This association was amplified among parents who reported more frequent episodes of peer rejection at school and among those who listened to a podcast about social rejection. In contrast, a podcast about social acceptance buffered the link between parents’ attachment anxiety and preoccupation with their child’s social functioning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3932-3954
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
Volume40
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2023.

Keywords

  • Attachment
  • parental preoccupation
  • parenting
  • social acceptance
  • social rejection

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