The Structural Relatıonshıps Of Parentıng Styles, Attachment Dımensıons, Lonelıness And Hope
Hope is the desire to find new ways to realize what one desires and not giving up. Therefore, being hopeful is of crucial importance in coping with hardships in life, improving negative conditions and making dreams come true (Fromm, 1968). The existence of hope is even more important in the modern world that has been more and more complicated. The decisions to be made continuously, tests to take, a competitive environment that has increasingly been fiercer and uncertain job conditions have increased the prominence of individuals setting true goals, maintaining the necessary motivation to reach these goals and finding new ways in the face of difficulties; in other words, hope. Lack of hope is attributed such a power that might lead individuals to suicide and societies to annihilation.
The relation of low levels of hope to many negative psychological conditions such as loneliness (Lekander, 2000), low self- confidence, depression and suicide has been revealed. However, a high level of hope might help solve problems that are the most difficult to solve. The ability to be persistent and flexible in dealing with competitiveness of such situations as increasing academic success, sports or exams, or stressful conditions such as job applications is directly related with high levels of hope. At the same time, the level of hope potentially constitutes one of the factors of psychological soundness (Kashdan, Rose, & Fincham, 2002). Thats because being hopeful functions as a buffer zone in many stressful situations (Barnum, Snyder, Rapoff, Mani, & Thompson, 1998; Taylor & Armor, 1996) and it is related with many positive variables such as high self-esteem (Curry et al., 1997).
Hope, which was taken as a purely emotional dimension in the past, has been considered as a two dimensional concept with the addition of the cognitive dimension in recent years (Averill, Catlin, & Chon, 1990; Snyder, Harris, Anderson, Helleron, Irving, & Sigman et al., 1991). The emotional dimension might be defined as the feeling of desire and power to reach a goal; hence, hope is a cyclical emotion and our past experiences related to it are effective in the process of reaching our goals today and in the future. (Snyder, 1994; 1995; 2000; 2002). The second dimension is the cognitive dimension, which is defined as the ability to find ways to reach the goal (Snyder, 2002). Taken together, hope is defined as a cognitive skill that stimulates an individual to reach a goal by providing the necessary emotional motivation and by enabling him/her to find suitable goal-oriented methods (Snyder et al., 1991).
This skill is shaped by the experiences that one gains since his/her birth. If an individual has seen, depending on his past experiences, that s/he can find ways to reach goals, this provides him/her with the feeling of desire to reach an outcome in new goals s/he encounters and the feeling of confidence that s/he can find new ways (Onwuegbuzie & Daley, 1998; Snyder et al., 1996; Snyder, 2000; 2002). Snyder (2000), emphasizes that the experience of setting goals, reaching goals and getting satisfaction at the end from the very first years of ones life is an important factor in forming hope in adulthood. According to him, the childs experiences with his/her family are significant in forming hope schemes (Shorey, Snyder, Yang, & Lewin, 2003). Various other studies also point out the importance of parents attitudes and behaviors in the development of cognitive processes in children, such as evaluation of himself/herself and setting goals (Snyder, Cheavens, & Sympson, 1997; Shorey, Snyder, Yang, & Lewin, 2003; Snyder, 1994).
Family atmospheres where boundaries are indefinite, and consistency and support mechanisms are insufficient prevent learning hopeful thinking in the process of child development (e.g. Snyder et al., 1997). Moreover, over-protective and inhibitive parent behaviors affect childrens thinking styles and lead to problems such as loneliness (Jackson, 2007; Jackson, Pratt, Hunaberg, & Pancer, 2005; Türkmen & Demirli, 2011) and hopelessness (Mahoney, Pargament, Cole, Jewell, Maggar, & Tarakeshwar, 2005) as well as insecure attachment. In brief, an individuals level of hope is directly related to attachment styles, which are related to parent behaviors and loneliness. In fact, many theorists interested in attachment processes state that an individuals attachment relations with his/her parents in early periods of his/her life are highly effective in determining the characteristics of his/her relationships with others and expectations from his/her relationships in adulthood (Bowlby, 1958; Dominiquez & Carton, 1997; Waters, Crowell, Elliott, Corcoran, & Treboux, 2002). Bowlby (1977), also, puts forward that the attachment styles formed in early ages are transferred to later periods of life almost intact, through internal working models. Hence, the relationship of parents with their children and how they treat them is noteworthy (Snyder, Cheavens, & Sympson, 1997; Sezer, 2010).
Attachment, which starts to be formed in early periods of life between the baby and the caregiver (Kesebir, Kavzoğlu, & Üstündağ, 2011) and is thought to be continuous, is important in the sense that it shapes the ways one establishes relationships with others (Ainsworth & Bowlby, 1991). Individuals who have healthy and satisfying relationships with their parents are able to develop secure relationships with people outside the family more easily (Baumrind, 1966; Baumrind, 1967; Sümer & Güngör, 1999; Waters, 2004). Furthermore, if an individual develops close relationship with another individual (Rieger, 1993) and if this relationship bears supportive and protective characteristics may be observed in all phases of his/her life and in his/her close relationships (Brehherton, 1992; Kesebir, Kavzoğlu, & Üstündağ, 2011; Peplau & Perlman, 1982).
Weiss (1984) defines loneliness as the experienced stress caused by the separation with the attached object, and thus, not being able to establish the desired levels of closely attached relationships with others. Like Weiss, also Bowlby (1973) and Sullivan (1953), point out that loneliness is a reaction to qualitative or quantitative deficiency in close relationships. Additionally, they stated that loneliness appears in a developmental context and is related to the fact that the social relationships in different stages of development are not able to satisfy the needs of that stage. Consequently, life experiences in the early stages of life are determinant in an individuals relationship styles and level of loneliness in the future.
In this regard, whether the attachment dimension is secure or not gains importance. Those who have secure attachment types are more harmonious with their family and friends, more self-confident, trust others more and experience fewer social problems (Kafeetsios & Nezlek, 2002; 2006; Shaver & Mikulincer, 2002). On the other hand, those who have insecure attachment types are uncomfortable in being close to others, have considerable difficulty in trusting them fully, adapt to social life less, cannot quite control their emotions and are more susceptible to stress (Kesebir, Kavzoğlu, & Üstündağ, 2011; Shaver & Mikulincer, 2002).
The characteristics of individuals who have insecure attachment types may also be observed in those who experience a high level of loneliness. Individuals with a high level of loneliness have the feeling of togetherness less (Tiikkainen & Heikkinen, 2005) and feel hopeless as well as experiencing problems in relationships and focusing on the weaknesses of themselves or others. When things go wrong, they avoid taking action, constantly worry about possible negative results and prefer to avoid the problems instead of confronting them (Girgin, 2009). Thus, loneliness carries a low level of hope, whose most important feature can be summarized as not to lose motivation to solve problems and to be able to find alternative ways.
In the light of all these points mentioned above, it can be stated that the attachment dimension that is formed from birth by interaction with parents is also transferred to adulthood and determines whether one will experience the feeling of loneliness, through the cognitive schemes it involves (Vauras & Laakkonen, 2007). As a result of not being confident in himself/herself and the outside world and not having the desired intimacy levels and sufficient relationships, the individual is incompetent in setting suitable goals and having the motivation to reach these goals. Moreover, they might experience significant difficulties in trying alternative solutions in which they can use their social relationships efficiently.
All the concepts discussed above, parent attitudes, attachment, loneliness and hope, are formed within the context of the social structure they are in. However, most of the studies available are conducted with individuals in Euro-American culture. Therefore, the question of how hope especially as conceptualized by Snyder- develops in various social and ethnic societies still lacks an answer.
Given this and the importance of parent behaviors and attitudes in childrens psychosocial life in Turkey, it can be seen that the role of parent behaviors in hope and loneliness through the schemes that form attachment dimensions should be examined in Turkey. For this reason, the relationships between parent behaviors, attachment dimensions, loneliness and hope will be investigated in this study. Hence, the purpose of this study is to investigate the variables affecting hope in university students. To this end, a model was developed and tested to examine the structural relationships between the social and developmental factors, and the extent to which these variables predict hope by interacting with each other.
In the model, perceived parent behaviors and attachment dimensions take place as retrospective variables and are proposed as initiators of hope. Loneliness, on the other hand, is added as a variable related to social context. Of these variables, perceived parent behaviors are determined as independent variable and attachment dimension and loneliness as both independent and dependent variables. In other words, attachment dimension and loneliness function as mediator variable.
550 freshmen and juniors (378 female, 172 male) from the Faculty of Educational Sciences at Ankara University participated in this study. 7 different scales were used in the study to collect data. These are Demographic Data Form, Dispositional Hope Scale, State Hope Scale, Experiences in Close Relationships Revised Inventory, The Measure of Child Rearing Styles Inventory and UCLA Loneliness Scale.
Dispositional Hope Scale was developed by Snyder et al. (1996). The two-dimensional scale consists of 12 items. The Cronbach alpha internal consistency coefficient of the original scale ranges from .71 to .76 for the overall scale. The Turkish adaptation of the scale was first made by Akman and Korkut (1993). In this adaptation, the scale displayed a single factor structure that explained 26.23% of total variance. On the other hand, Kemer (2006) conducted a factor analysis that differs in construct validity. This two-factor structure explained approximately the 50 % of the total variance and the cronbach alpha coefficients were reported as .72 for Pathways subscale and .66 for Agency subscale.
State Hope Scale, which is a 6-item scale developed by Snyder et al. (1991), consists of Agency and Pathways sub-scales. The Cronbach alpha coefficient for the original overall form is .88, and the Cronbach alpha coefficient for agentic thinking subscale is .86 and pathway subscale is .59. An adaptation study of this scale was conducted by Denizli (2004). The Cronbach alpha coefficient was .48 for overall scale, .58 for pathways thinking and .66 for agentic thinking subscales.
The Experiences in Close Relationships Inventory was developed by Fraley, Waller, and Brennan (2000) and was adapted to Turkish by Selçuk, Günaydın, Sümer, and Uysal (2005). It measures two main dimensions related to attachment, namely anxiety experienced in close relationships and attachment avoidance. Each of these dimensions is measured with 18 items in this 36-item inventory. Increasing values in the scale indicate that individuals experience anxiety in their relationships and avoid attachment. Selçuk et al. found the internal consistency of attachment avoidance subscale as .82 and anxiety subscale as .81.
The Measure of Child Rearing Styles Inventory, which was developed by Sümer and Güngör (1999) is applied with two forms developed for mother and father separately. In the scale, there are 11 items to measure acceptance/ involvement and another 11 items to measure strict control/ supervision dimensions that underlie child-rearing styles. The highness of total points received from each subscale demonstrates the highness of the behavior identified by that dimension. In this research, the data collected to test the construct validity of the scale are subjected to factor analysis for mother and father forms separately. As a result of the analysis, the internal consistency cronbach alpha coefficient for the mother form was found to be .86 for acceptance/involvement subdimension and .85 for control subdimension. In the father form, the internal consistency cronbach alpha coefficient was found to be .89 for the acceptance/involvement subdimension and .88 for control subdimension.
UCLA Loneliness Scale, is a likert type self-evaluation scale that is used to determine the general loneliness level, developed by Russell, Peplau, and Ferguson, (1978). In its original version, it has a 4-point scale composed of 20 items, 10 being positive and 10 negative. The highest possible score is 80 and the lowest is 20. High grades indicate more loneliness is being experienced. The scale was adapted to Turkish by, Demir (1989). In Demirs study, the internal consistency coefficient of the scale was found to be .96. In the test-retest study, the reliability coefficient was found to be .94.
For the data analysis, path analysis was used. In other words, with the purpose of understanding the extent to which hope is predicted by parent behaviors, attachment dimensions and loneliness; and examining the direct and indirect effects of the variables, their structural relationships with each other has been investigated.
Findings and Discussion
With the purpose of testing the proposed model, firstly, various compatibility standards have been calculated to see the extent to which it is compatible with the data in the study. First, the values of fit indexes indicate only the overall or average fit of a model. Thus, it is possible that some parts of the model may poorly fit the data even if the value of the index seems favorable. Second, fit indexes do not indicate whether the results are theoretically meaningful. Considering that the model fit is a multifaceted concept, it can be said that the model in question is acceptable in terms of χ2/df and RMSEA but not good fitted in terms of CFI, NFI and NNFI (Kline, 1998; Sümer, 2000; Hair et al., 2006; Tabachnick & Fidel, 2007). In other words, the model has not been confirmed as a whole. A second model has been obtained with the deletion of the insignificant paths or paths that are not working and the new model has been retested. The construct equality model analysis conducted on the new model the second time has shown that the second model is more compatible with the data.
This study, which focuses especially on parent behaviors and attachment dimensions that are retrospective variables, and loneliness, aims at identifying the predictors that have a role in the development of hope levels of university students in Turkey. Based on the results obtained from the study, it can be stated that the study revealed the structural relationships of many predictors of hope. In addition, the study indicated that both personality features and emotions have important roles in the development and experiencing of hope.
The results obtained in this study revealed that secure attachment predicts a lower level of loneliness and a low level of loneliness predict a higher level of hope. This result supports the conceptual assumption that hope might develop with secure attachments and a positive emotional state has an important affect in the development of hope (Snyder, 1994; Shorey, 2003). On the other hand, the findings did not quite support the assumption that hopes starts with parent behaviors via attachment. The findings showed that only mothers parent behavior is effective on attachment dimensions. Although it was seen that the effect of fathers parent behavior on attachment is statistically significant, this effect is at a very low level.
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