Yuge Guo


Johnson, Brian D.

Committee Member

Tian, Lu

Committee Member

Hulac, David M.

Committee Member

Henderson, Angela C.


College of Education and Behavioral Sciences; Department of Applied Psychology and Counselor Education, Program of Counseling Psychology


University of Northern Colorado

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Greeley, (Colo.)


University of Northern Colorado

Date Created



178 pages

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Born digital


Guo, Yuge. The Relationship between Adult Attachment, Perceived Social Support and Depression in Chinese College Students with Different Life Experiences. Published Dissertation, University of Northern Colorado, August 2020. The population of left-behind children in China face great challenges in daily life and serious concern has been raised over their physical and psychological health. The current study examines whether childhood left-behind experiences have a long-term impact on the mental health of college students in comparison to their peers without such experiences. The current study explored if there were difference in the level of insecure attachment to a parent figure, perceived social support, and depression, between students with and without left behind experiences, as well as the impact of specific demographic variables (age at separation, duration of separation, type of parent migration, and type of left-behind caregivers). In addition the indirect effect that of perceived social support has on the relationship between insecure attachment and depression for students with and without left behind experiences. Three hundred and ninety-nine Chinese college students including 145 students with left-behind experiences were recruited to completed self-report questionnaires on left-behind experiences, attachment to parent or parent-like caregiver, perceived social support, and depression. Significant differences were found in attachment avoidance to mother or mother-like figure between college students with left-behind experience and those without such experience, however, no significant differences were detected in terms of all the other insecure attachment dimensions, levels of perceived social support and depression in these two groups For college students with left-behind experience, ANOVA showed no significant differences regarding age at separation, duration of separation, and interaction effect of these two factors on the level of depression. Similarly, the types of parent migration, left-behind caregivers, and their interaction effect were also not significant on the level of depression. Multiple regression analyses indicated perceived social support significantly mediated the relationship between adult attachment and depression while the left-behind status did not moderate this mediating model. These findings suggest evaluating Chinese college students’ attachment styles may be more important than knowing their left behind status. Results also revealed a gap in research of left-behind experience particularly missing the important variable of parenting and the need to further understand the mechanism of left-behind status on attachment avoidance to mother or mother-like figures.

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