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The role of emotional resilience, childhood parentification, and attachment style on antisocial behavior in adulthood: A comparison of an offender and normative population

McGauran, Andra and Brooks, Matthew and Khan, Roxanne (2019) The role of emotional resilience, childhood parentification, and attachment style on antisocial behavior in adulthood: A comparison of an offender and normative population. Journal of Criminal Psychology, 9 (2). pp. 75-87. ISSN 2009-3829

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Abstract

Purpose: Despite a robust link between poor caregiver attachment and antisociality, few studies have examined the influence of parentification and emotional resilience on delinquency in later life, in groups at differing risk for antisocial conduct. Methodology: This pilot study compared the influence of parentification, attachment style (avoidant or anxious) and emotional resilience on adulthood antisocial behaviour in an offender and normative sample. Of the 137 participants in this study, 66 were supervised by the National Probation Service (age M = 36.90, SD = 13.91), and 71 were recruited from community-dwelling and student populations (age M = 31.83, SD = 13.25). Findings: In partial support of the predictions, participants in the offender group reported significantly greater levels of attachment anxiety compared to the normative group. However, emotional resilience was positively associated with antisociality in the normative sample. Research implications: This small-scale investigation indicates value in exploring these specific variables in a larger, matched samples study, to enable clearer comparisons to be made between offender and normative groups. Practical implications: The preliminary findings suggest that attachment anxiety is associated with antisociality in offender populations, which indicate a therapeutic focus on attachment anxiety as part of correctional care and offender rehabilitation. Originality: This study is novel in its aim to examine the influence of childhood parentification, attachment deficits and emotional resilience on adulthood antisociality in participants from a high-risk offender sample and non-high-risk normative sample.

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