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À l’adolescence, les relations amoureuses sont une étape développementale majeure dans le rapport à l’autre. Ces relations (re)questionnent l’attachement aux parents et voient naître l’attachement aux partenaires amoureux : tous deux mobilisent une dynamique de sécurité et d’autonomie. Ces relations impliquent aussi l’intimité, où se jouent proximité et individualité. Le présent article propose d’interroger les modalités sécure, anxieuse et évitante des attachements parental et romantique en lien avec l’intimité, et trois caractéristiques de la relation amoureuse adolescente. Deux cent trente-deux adolescents ont été soumis à des questionnaires auto-administrés portant sur l’attachement parental, l’attachement romantique, la peur de l’intimité, l’âge de leur première relation, le nombre de relations amoureuses qu’ils ont eues et la plus longue durée de relation amoureuse qu’ils ont entretenue. Après analyse, nous notons que l’attachement parental et l’attachement romantique sont liés à la peur de l’intimité, et que l’attachement romantique a une part explicative dans le nombre de relations amoureuses adolescentes. Les modalités d’attachement (sécure, anxieuse, évitante) et les différences de sexe caractérisent également ces résultats.Le texte complet de cet article est disponible en PDF.
Teen dating is a developmental stage questioning dramatically the relationships to be expected with others, especially when feelings of tenderness and love are involved. It mobilizes parental attachment and the internal working models related to it, while being colored by the emerging romantic attachment and its brand new internal working models. Attachments are deeply shaped by a dynamic interaction whereby the self tries to figure out how to reach security and autonomy still taking the other into account. This considered, intimacy also implies a dynamic feature: on the one hand, closeness and sharing of feelings and/or experiences, and on the other hand, individuality and maintaining of one's ego. However, just like attachments may be insecure, a fear of intimacy cannot be underestimated during dating. Eventually, bearing in mind the societal and cultural components of attachment and intimacy, gendered explanations cannot be ignored, especially during adolescence.
Three hypotheses are being tested. First, the continuity from parental to romantic attachment is postulated, meaning that a secure, preoccupied or dismissing attachment to parents might lead to a subsequent secure, preoccupied or dismissing attachment to romantic partners. Second, the influence of parental attachment on the fear of intimacy during teen dating is questioned. The difficult dynamic of closeness/individuality might be explained by the parental attachment's patterns. Third, the impact of romantic attachment on the fear of intimacy during teen dating is assessed. Also, dating characteristics such as number of love relationships, age of the first dating experience and the longest lasting relationship are studied and put in perspective with the romantic attachment.
Materials and methods
The initial sample is made of 283 Belgian students (61% girls) from different teaching systems, aged of 16–22 years old (mean age: 17.43), and 232 of them had already had a dating experience by this time. They were questioned about dating characteristics such as number of love relationships, age of the first dating experience and the longest lasting relationship. Two questionnaires were also self-administered: the Behavioral Systems Questionnaire (assessing attachment) and the Fear of Intimacy Scale. Statistical analyses such as Pearson Chi2, Anova and Post-Hoc LSD were carried out.
First, we cannot see any continuity between parental and romantic attachment. Second, dismissing attachment to parents fosters the fear on intimacy, compared to secure profiles; this is especially true for dismissing girls. Third, dismissing and preoccupied attachments to romantic partners foster the fear of intimacy, compared to secure profiles; this is especially true for dismissing and even more for preoccupied boys. Also, preoccupied attachment to romantic partners fosters the multiplication of datings, compared to secure; this is especially true for preoccupied and even more for dismissing girls. Finally, there is no effect of romantic attachment on the age of the first dating experience or on the longest lasting relationship.
Parental and romantic attachments are involved in the fear of intimacy experienced by adolescents during dating. Still, attachment styles’ influence seems different for girls and boys, and highlights the need to distinguish girls’ from boys’ teen dating experiences.Le texte complet de cet article est disponible en PDF.
Mots clés : Adolescence, Attachement, Intimité, Relation amoureuse, Flirt
Keywords : Adolescence, Attachment, Intimacy, Love relationship, Teen dating