Parental recall, attachment relating and self-attacking/self-reassurance: Their relationship with depression
Article first published online: 24 DEC 2010
2006 The British Psychological Society
British Journal of Clinical Psychology
Volume 45, Issue 3, pages 297–308, September 2006
How to Cite
Irons, C., Gilbert, P., Baldwin, M.W., Baccus, J. R. and Palmer, M. (2006), Parental recall, attachment relating and self-attacking/self-reassurance: Their relationship with depression. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 45: 297–308. doi: 10.1348/014466505X68230
- Issue published online: 24 DEC 2010
- Article first published online: 24 DEC 2010
- Received 27 January 2004
Objectives. When things go wrong for people they can become self-critical or focus on positive, reassuring aspects of the self. This study explored the relationship between forms of self-criticism and self-reassurance, recall of parental experiences and attachment style in relation to depressed symptoms in students.
Methods. A sample of 197 undergraduate students from the UK and Canada completed self-report questionnaires measuring recall of parental styles, attachment, forms of self-criticism, self-reassurance, and depression symptoms.
Results. Recall of parents as rejecting and overprotecting was significantly related to both inadequacy and self-hating self-criticism. In contrast, parental warmth was negatively correlated with these forms of self-criticism. In addition, when things go wrong for the person, recall of parental warmth was associated with the ability to be self-reassuring. A mediator analysis suggested that (1) the impact of recall of negative parenting on depression is mediated through the forms of self-criticism and (2) the effect of parental warmth on depression was mediated by the ability to be self-reassuring.
Conclusions. The impacts of negative parenting styles may translate into vulnerabilities to depression via the way children (and later adults) develop their self-to-self relating (e.g. as self-critical versus self-reassuring). Hence, there is a need for further research on the link between attachment experiences, recall of parental rejection/warmth and their relationship to internal, self-evaluative and affect systems in creating vulnerabilities to psychopathology.