Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of Adolescence 27:6 (December 2004), pp. 703–716; doi 10.1016/j.adolescence.2004.05.005. Copyright © 2004 The Association for Professionals in Services for Adolescents. Published by Elsevier Ltd. Used by permission.


The goal of this study was to examine both the direct and indirect relations of parent and peer attachment with self-esteem and to examine the potential mediating roles of empathy and social behavior. 246 college students (Mage = 18.6 years, s.d. = 1.61) completed self-report measures of parent and peer attachment, empathy, social behavior, and self-esteem. Structural equation modeling revealed that parental attachment had mostly direct effects on self-esteem. Among females, the links between peer attachment and self-esteem, however, were entirely mediated by empathy and prosocial behavior. The findings from this study suggest that although close supportive relationships with parents and peers are related to adolescent self-esteem, these links are complex.