Family Relations and Relationships with Peers as Determinants of Self-Esteem in Adolescents

Zora Raboteg-Šarić, Marina Merkaš, Tamara Miljević

Abstract

Objective - The aim of this study was to examine to what extent the quality of family  relationships (attachment to mother, attachment to father, family cohesion) and relationships with peers (attachment to peers and social acceptance) predict global self-esteem of boys and girls in adolescence.

Materials and methods - The sample included 221 high school students aged 14-18 years old. Attachments to parents and peers were assessed using the Inventory of Parent and Peer Attachment. Family cohesion was measured with the Family Cohesion Scale of the Colorado Self-Report Measure of Family Functioning. Adolescent perceptions of global self-worth and social acceptance among peers were measured using the Self-Perception Profile for Adolescents.

Results - The results showed that girls are more attached to their peers than boys. Boys and girls did not differ in their attachment to mother and father, perception of family cohesion, self-conceptions of global self-worth and social acceptance. Stepwise regression analyses were conducted on the results for the boys’ and girls’ samples with adolescent global self-esteem as a criterion variable and measures of attachment to peers, social acceptance, family cohesion, attachment to mother and attachment to father as predictor variables. The results revealed that attachment to the same-sex parent and peer acceptance significantly contribute to boys’ and girls’ global self-esteem.

Conclusion - The findings of this study point to the importance of approval from significant others (family and peer group) in different socialization contexts for fostering global self-esteem in adolescents.

Keywords

Self-esteem; Attachment to parents; Attachment to peers; Adolescents

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