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Title: Adolescent twins' mental representations of self and other in relation with zygosity, attachment patterns and psychological disturbances
Author: Zhou, Y.
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2015
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Introduction: Based on a theoretical integration of cognitive development psychology, psychoanalytic theory and attachment theory, Blatt and his colleagues formulated a systematic psychodynamic model of mental representation of self and other emphasizing internalization, differentiation and integration of self and object representations in normal and disrupted personality development. During the development process, adolescence is a critical transformational stage to determine either the construction of an integrated self-identity and more mature expressions of relatedness within a wider social context, or emergence or consolidation of many forms of psychopathology. This study used a twin design to examine the degree of articulation, differentiation and integration of representation of self and representations of self and parents in mid-adolescence in order to estimate the role of the environment and of genes in individual differences in these representations. Method: This study used 160 twin pairs including equal numbers of monozygotic and dizygotic twins reared together to examine the degrees of genetic and environmental influences on mental representation in adolescence. Representations of self and other were assessed using an adapted measure of the Differentiation-Relatedness Scale. The estimates of heritability of mental representations were calculated using model-fitting analysis. Results/Discussion: There were indications of approximately 38% heritability in mental representation of self-mother and 28 % in representation of self-father. The remainder of the variance was attributed to non-shared environmental influences and possible measurement error with no effect of shared environmental influences. No genetic influence or shared environmental influences was found in self-representation. Different pathways were discussed to interpret the results, which suggested complex gene-environment interactions at play affecting the levels of mental representations in adolescence. Furthermore, the mechanisms involved in representations of self and other in adolescence were compared and contrasted with attachment security, which may potentially provide us a fuller understanding of the links between childhood experiences and the development outcomes of cognitive, affective and interpersonal dimensions in personality development.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available