Understanding the association between insecure attachment and emotional well-being in Chinese adolescents: Perceived social support and help seeking behaviors as mediators

Sin Yan Ziv CHEUNG

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Theses


Emotional well-being is closely related to the healthy development of adolescents. A decline in the emotional well-being of Hong Kong adolescents has been observed over the past decade. More empirical research is necessary to further understand the factors related to the emotional well-being of adolescents. As the fundamental working model of social relationships, attachment style can be an important factor related to emotional well-being.

This study aims to examine the relationship between insecure attachment style and adolescents’ emotional well-being in Hong Kong. Moreover, the mediating effects of perceived social support and help seeking behaviors was tested and compared. Gender differences in these relationships were also investigated.

In the study, a quantitative method was used. Five hundred and seventy-nine participants (10-21 years; M = 14.94, SD = 2.01) attending secondary schools completed a Chinese version of the combined questionnaire, which investigated attachment style, perceived social support, help seeking behaviors and emotional well-being during lessons.

Attachment avoidance and anxiety have significant negative relationships with emotional well-being. Perceived social support mediates the effects between attachment avoidance and emotional well-being in both genders, and between attachment anxiety and emotional well-being in females. Perceived social support has a stronger positive relationship with emotional well-being than that of help seeking behaviors in a Chinese context. Finally, anxiety attachment was more detrimental to females’ social networks than males.

The results indicate that the emotional well-being of Chinese adolescents is negatively associated with attachment avoidance and attachment anxiety. Perceived social support has a larger effect on emotional well-being than help seeking behaviors. It mediates the effect from attachment avoidance to emotional well-being in both genders, and attachment anxiety to emotional well-being in females. Stronger detrimental effects on emotional well-being can also be found in females. Replicating this study is suggested to confirm the findings, and hence interventions can then be suggested and its effectiveness can be tested. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Education
Awarding Institution
  • The Education University of Hong Kong
  • LI, Tianyuan, Supervisor
  • YIP, Chi Wing, Michael 葉志榮, Supervisor
  • LIN, Dan 林丹, Supervisor
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Emotional well-being
  • Help seeking behaviors
  • Perceived social support
  • Insecure attachment
  • Chinese adolescents
  • Theses and Dissertations
  • Thesis (Ed.D.)--The Education University of Hong Kong, 2018.


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