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Adolescent attachment and trajectories of hostile–impulsive behavior: Implications for the development of personality disorders

  • Roger Kobak (a1), Kristyn Zajac (a1) and Clare Smith (a1)


Adolescents' trajectories of impulsive and hostile behaviors provide a dynamic index of risk for the emergence of Cluster B (antisocial and borderline) personality disorders in early adulthood. In the current study, we tested the hypothesis that preoccupied states of mind in the Adult Attachment Interview would increase both the level and rate of growth in adolescents' trajectories of aggressive and sexual risk-taking behaviors measured at ages 13, 15, and 17. Overall, preoccupied states of mind predicted higher levels of sexual risk taking and aggressive behaviors across all three assessments as well as higher rates of growth in sexual-risk taking and caregiver-reported aggression over time. In addition, preoccupied females showed slower rates of decline in self-reported hostile emotions than did preoccupied males. The effects of gender as a moderator of the relations between preoccupied status and risk trajectories for personality disorders are discussed.


Corresponding author

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Roger Kobak, Department of Psychology, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716; E-mail:


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