The Adolescent Health Lab presented at the 2017 International Attachment Conference in London. Dr. Marlene Moretti presented on Connect; please see below for her talk title and abstract. To see other presentations, click here!
I: UPDATE & MECHANISMS OF CHANGE
II: ATTACHMENT, TRAUMA & CULTURE
Introduction: While effective attachment based interventions have been developed for parents of infants and young children, few exist for adolescents. The current study evaluated treatment outcomes and trajectories of change among teens and their parents who completed Connect, a 10-session manualized attachment based parenting program. Connect focuses on the building blocks of attachment security, namely parental sensitivity, reflective capacity, dyadic affect regulation and shared partnership. Through a sequence of dydactic and experiential exercises, parents acquire skills that promote their understanding of and responsiveness to the attachment meanings associated with challenging behaviour.
Methods: Participants were 510 parents (66% mothers) enrolled in the Connect program and 340 teens (51% female; mean age 15 years). Parents assessed their teens on measures of behavioral, emotional and family functioning prior to the program; at mid-treatment; and upon completion. Teens completed parallel measures.
Results: Parents reported significant reductions in youth oppositional and conduct problems; anxiety and depression. Reductions were also evident in youth affect dysregulation and suppression and attachment avoidance and anxiety. In addition, parents reported a significant reduction in their own level of depression and increased family satisfaction. Similar results emerged based on teen self-reports, including significant reductions in oppositional and conduct problems; depression and anxiety. Teens also reported significant reductions in affect dyscontrol and attachment anxiety. When plotted, trajectories revealed that many treatment changes were evident by mid-treatment. Results replicate prior studies demonstrating the effectiveness of Connect. Our results show similar, but not identical outcomes and trajectories for parents and teens. A three-phase clinical model of change that may underlie attachment based parenting programs is discussed.