The influence of parental attachment and love language on the resilience of graduating university students was studied in a Philippine setting. Using the survey method (N = 843), it was found that a secure attachment and receiving love from parents result in higher resilience. The parental love languages quality time, words of affirmation, and acts of service significantly contributed to resilience. These are love languages that provide emotional, motivational, and practical resources that build resilience. While quality time contributed the most to resilience, a secure attachment is most especially required of fathers whereas words of affirmation and physical touch are needed from mothers. Sons need quality time from their fathers and the physical touch of their mothers. Daughters benefit from quality time with mothers alongside a secure attachment and words of affirmation from their fathers. This study emphasizes the parental factors of attachment and love as external resources of resilience. The research highlights the quality of parent–child relationship experience that would support the resilience of young adults. Results also point to the advantage of having loving parents and a secure parental attachment.
- love language
- parent–child relationship
This research studied the resilience of graduating university students in a Philippine setting and how this construct is determined by parental attachment and love language. Luthar, Cicchetti, and Becker (2000) described resilience as “a dynamic process encompassing positive adaptation within the context of significant adversity” (p. 543). The two critical conditions implicit in the quote are exposure to threat and positive outcome. Resilience is the “process of, capacity for, or outcome of successful adaptation despite challenging or threatening circumstances” (Masten, Best, & Garmezy, 1991, p. 426). Three different situations may also be observed: (a) individuals who have experienced traumatic events but have been able to recover well; (b) persons who belong to high-risk groups, but who have more favorable outcomes than expected; and (c) persons who show positive adaptation despite life stressors (Masten et al., 1991).
In a paper presented by Gilligan (2003), he describes resilience not as a fixed trait but as a quality in children and young people having a good sense of belonging, and self-efficacy to confront adversities. These qualities would be brought out in the context of committed and encouraging relationships from others—parents, relatives, teachers, other adults, and peers. In this discourse, Gilligan explored the ways in which adults and professionals can act to nurture resilience in young people. He contends the need to first, value the capacities of children and young people; second, recognize the naturally occurring supports and resources found in the children’s everyday lives; and third, to consider a strengths perspective in practice, policy, and research (Gilligan, 2003).
Positive parenting characterized by warmth, responsiveness, appropriate discipline, and secure attachment (Howell, Graham-Bermann, Czyz, & Lilly, 2010; Stein, 2006) are key protective factors in children growing up at risk. In homes exposed to intimate partner violence, better maternal mental health is a component to more positive outcomes. Mothers with fewer depressive and traumatic symptoms are more able to maintain positive and warm child attachment and interactions, which can support the mastery of developmental tasks such as emotion regulation and pro-social skills (Howell et al., 2010). Twin studies on the impact of maternal warmth reveal that the twin who received the most maternal warmth had fewer behavioral problems as concordant for bullying victimization (Bowes, Maughan, Caspi, Moffitt, & Arseneault, 2010) and have positive adjustment despite socio-economic deprivation as a risk factor (Kim-Cohen, Moffitt, Caspi, & Taylor, 2004). Apart from parental behavior, broader family functioning such as the children’s perception of family coherence and stability are associated with positive adaptation among maltreated children (Haskett, Near, Ward, & McPherson, 2006).
Parental Attachment and Resilience
Bowlby (1979) conceptualized attachment as
the propensity of human beings to make strong affectional bonds to particular others and of explaining the many forms of emotional distress and personality disturbance, including anxiety, anger, depression, and emotional detachment, to which unwilling separation and loss give rise. (p. 127)
The behavior of attaining and maintaining proximity to an attachment figure, usually conceived as stronger and/or wiser, “characterize human beings from cradle to the grave” (Bowlby, 1979, p. 129). Such is prevalent during early childhood; however, it becomes apparent in adulthood when a person is distressed, ill, or afraid.
The need to balance attachment and exploratory behaviors was emphasized in the writings of Bowlby (1979) and Ainsworth and Bell (1970). There are genetic biases that balance this need to attach with the need to separate from mothers. The latter would promote exploration and acquisition of knowledge, which will help species to adapt to their physical and social environment (Ainsworth & Bell, 1970). When children are provided with conditions of this balance, Bowlby asserted that they grow up secure and self-reliant and, in relation to others, they tend to be more trusting, cooperative, and helpful. Sensitive parenting is a key ingredient to developing a secure internal working model. Pathogenic parenting is common in psychiatric referrals of anxious and insecure individuals.
The influence of parental warmth and mental condition on the outcome of adolescent and adult children has been explored by some contemporary studies. McKinney and Milone (2012) found that parental psychopathology and parenting are related to late adolescent psychopathology. Perceived positive parenting increased the likelihood of late adolescent psychopathology in the context of high perceived parental psychopathology. The authors posit that children tend to identify more strongly with parents who provide positive parenting; hence, this higher level of identification and involvement may lead to a stronger transmission of parental psychopathology. In a study among Chinese adolescents for instance, pressure from parents to perform well in school may have negative effects on their psychological functioning. However, it was also found that greater parental warmth generally reduced the association between the parents’ academic pressure and the adolescents’ symptoms of depression and anxiety (Quach, Epstein, Riley, Falconier, & Fang, 2015). Results of a qualitative meta-synthesis of studies among adult children having parents with mental illness revealed that the central theme revolved around relationship issues with reference to a lack of emotional affect, distorted perceptions of others, hyper vigilance of others’ emotional states, and mistrust of others (Murphy, Peters, Jackson, & Wilkes, 2011). These findings may reinforce Bowlby’s attachment theory. However, the results of the meta-synthesis also highlighted that experiences of parental mental illness have also generated creativity, resilience, and personal growth, which questions the automatic correlation of parental mental illness and trauma.
Atwool (2006) saw the significance of combining resilience and attachment theories such that it signifies relationships as key to all aspects of resilience—culture, community, relationships, and individual factors. Both theories facilitate the understanding of the adaptive nature of behavior and the types of relationship experiences necessary to promote positive adaptation.
Parental relations have been studied to be important in encouraging resilience. In a study among youths ages 9 to 15, it supported that parental responsiveness improved the prediction of the children’s emotional resilience. Both mother and father parenting behaviors were seen as making unique contributions to the emotional functioning of children (Boughton & Lumley, 2011). A difference between mothers and fathers was also established in a longitudinal study considering first-born children living in traditional mother-father-child homes (Steele & Steele, 2005). The researchers’ data suggested that when understanding and resolving emotional conflicts within themselves, these children were highly influenced by their relationship with their mothers. However, their relationship with their fathers will more likely influence their understanding and resolution of emotional conflicts in the outer world of human interaction—for example, with siblings and peers.
Throughout adolescence, reliance on parents decreases, but this does not necessarily mean that the attachment relationship diminishes. Around this time, attachment may extend from parents to peers, with peers often becoming the preferred persons to spend time with and receive comfort from (Noller, Feeney, & Peterson, 2001). One view of this change of relationships is that peer groups and friendships provide important “way stations” during the separation process from parents (Goossens & Marcoen, 1999). However, parents still perform a critical function as secure base from which to explore peer relationships and different roles and identities. The secure base allows a child to explore this external world and return safely if the need arises (Noller et al., 2001).
Resilience and Love Language of Parents
Several studies demonstrate that the primary factor in resilience is having caring and supportive relationships within and outside the family. Relationships that create love and trust provide role models, and offer encouragement and reassurance that help bolster a person’s resilience. Other researches take warmth and responsiveness to be a good indicator of love and have investigated the long-term effects of warm and responsive parenting on children (Maccoby, 1980). Hill, Stafford, Seaman, Ross, and Daniel (2007) reviewed several works showing that warm and responsive parenting develops intrinsic resilient capacities and mediates coping responses to many adversities including poverty, ill heath, substance abuse, youth crime, bereavement, or community violence.
Many adolescents identify the value and importance of maintaining positive, respectful, and loving relationships with parents, a closeness that can override the effects of poor peer relationships (Noller & Patton, 1990). A sense of belonging and connectedness to family, and feeling loved and respected in the family, is a protective factor for a number of risk behaviors, including suicidal behaviors, substance abuse, and violence (Fuller, McGraw, & Goodyear, 1999). Caring and connectedness surpass a range of demographic characteristics, such as single versus two parent families, as protective factors against risky behaviors (Rayner & Montague, 2000).
Chapman and Campbell (1997) described love languages into specific behavioral expressions, namely, physical touch, quality time, gifts, acts of service, and words of affirmation. Children are behaviorally motivated and they respond better when parents convey love concretely through these actions. Chapman and Campbell (1997) said that “every child has an emotional tank, a place of emotional strength that can fuel him through the challenging days of childhood and adolescence” (p. 17). Parents must fill their children’s emotional tanks with unconditional love for them to operate as they should and reach their potential. This research operationalized love based on Chapman and Campbell’s concept of love languages.
Gender Differences: Resilience and Parenting
Protective factors may differ across gender. For instance, girls tend to become resilient by building strong, caring relationships, whereas boys are more likely to build resilience by learning how to use active problem solving (Bernard, 1995). Further evidence that resilience may yield gender differences comes from the research of Werner and Smith (1992). In their longitudinal study of high-risk children, it was found that scholastic competence at age 10 was more strongly associated with successful transition to adult responsibilities for men than women. However, factors such as high self-esteem, efficacy, and a sense of personal control were more predictive of successful adaptation among women than men. In the stress domain, males were more vulnerable to separation and loss of caregivers in the first decade of life, while girls are more vulnerable to family discord and loss in the second decade. Thus, the factors that influence resilience may differ in males and females.
Overholt and Ewert (2015) found that males and females gained resilience by participating in the outdoor adventure program. Both and males and females cited stressful events, uncertainty, physical difficulty, and peer relationships as contributors to resilience development. These experiences were reported as contributing to self-confidence and self-reliance. While women were especially concerned with the physical challenges of the expedition, men emphasized relational difficulties. Males decreased in reported levels of resilience, whereas females experienced increased levels. Many of the men entered the program with a high level of confidence and later finding humility as they learned to cope with the challenges. Expeditions are often framed in terms of their physical challenges without much emphasis on the other challenging aspects such as interpersonal relationships. This difference in evaluation and expectation may be an artifact of the ways in which individuals are socialized in terms of gender and gender identity.
With regard to parenting, Doucet (2009) argued that despite ideologies and norms changing over time, beneath the surfaces of everyday practices, there is still a constant pull back to those primary assumptions about women as primary carers and men as secondary caregivers. In her study on fathers, there is a strong sense that women feel guilty about leaving their child to go back to work and men feel guilty about leaving their work to care for their child. Mothers feel pulled toward care and connection while fathers feel pulled toward paid work and autonomy.
However, using a maternal lens in understanding fathers means that paternal forms of nurturing are ignored or obscured. For example, with regard to the issue of emotional responsibility, a maternal lens misses the ways in which fathers promote children’s independence, playfulness, and physicality, and these outdoors approach to the care of young children are viewed only as second best, or invisible, ways of caring. One of Doucet’s conclusions in parenting is that, rather than using a maternal lens and comparing fathers with mothers, what is required are novel ways of listening to, and theorizing about fathers’ approaches to parental responsibilities.
Some previous studies exist exploring the differences in paternal and maternal influences on affective measures (Barton & Kirtley, 2012) and problem behaviors (Malmberg & Flouri, 2011) among sons and daughters as well as core beliefs in young women (Blissett et al., 2006). In this study, we would also present paternal and maternal influences on the resilience of sons and daughters. Specifically, this study could determine which attachment styles and love language of fathers and mothers are best predictive of the resilience of their sons and daughters.
The resilience among the Filipinos may relate to having a more interdependent self-construal (Peña-Alampay, 2003). The Filipino self is perceived as connected with others from a deep sense of kapwa or referring to the oneness of the self with others. In a study among Filipino adolescents, Rufino Ramos (2007) found that the implicit meaning of happiness is consistent with a collectivist perspective. Happiness is contextualized in meaningful interpersonal relationships with emphasis on friendship and family support. Kapwa and the collectivist culture seep through many of the Filipinos’ values and patterns of feelings, thoughts, and actions. The understanding of Filipino resilience may also then be understood in line with interdependence, kapwa, and a collectivist mind-set.
This research was conducted among graduating students of a university in the northern part of the Philippines. This study first explored the general influence of parental attachment and love language on the resilience of these students. The specific paternal and maternal influences were also dealt with. Differences between the parental influences on the resilience of sons and daughters were likewise specifically tackled. The researchers hypothesized that a secure attachment would relate positively to resilience compared with insecure attachment. Generally, the love languages were hypothesized to relate positively to resilience as well. This study also explored which of these combined parental factors would best predict the resilience of the students as a whole and also that of the high stress group.
The descriptive method was used as this research aims to provide information about how resilience varies in relation to parent–child attachment and parental love languages. The survey is the main tool employed. The researchers used quantitative measures to gather and analyze data. Correlational methods and tests of differences were used to analyze the quantitative relations of the variables parental attachment and love languages with resilience. Cross-sectional design was used to compare existing differences among the target groups.
Population and Locale of the Study
For the survey questionnaires, 843 valid respondents were included in the statistical analysis. These are graduating university students of Saint Louis University, Baguio City, Philippines. Their mean age is 19.97 (SD = 1.026) and to be valid to answer the questionnaire, these students must be Filipinos and not exceeding 23 years old. There were more females (67%) than males (37%). The university caters mostly to students coming from middle-income families. College life is challenging especially for students who have to hurdle the demands and requirements of graduation. They also have to deal with the complexities of their lives outside the academe. Several of these students may be juggling work and studies while some are young parents caring for their children. In addition, they have to fulfill their other interpersonal roles in relation to their parents, romantic partners, siblings, and friends.
Data Gathering Tools and Procedures
Upon administrative and ethics approval of this study, the researchers distributed the questionnaires through the faculty or supervisors of graduating university students from different undergraduate courses. The students were provided informed consent through a letter attached to the questionnaires.
The entire questionnaire is self-administered and may be completed within 20 to 30 min. The graduating students answered the questionnaires the week immediately after the mid-term examinations, hence, adding to the stress component essential in resilience studies. The main measures used with their descriptions are as follows:
The College Life Stress Inventory (Renner & Mackin, 1998)
This consists of a list of 101 stressful events that the students may have encountered within the last 12 months. Each event has a corresponding stress rating and the sum of these ratings is computed to derive the stress rating per respondent. Some items were slightly modified to make them more content valid based on the culture. For example, attending an athletic or social event (e.g., games, parties; note that social events/parties were not included in the original).
The Relationship Questionnaire
These are four statements each describing the attachment patterns to a specific relation. The attachment categories are based on the four-factor model of Bartholomew and Horowitz (1991). Half of the questionnaires distributed would measure attachment to their fathers while the rest would measure attachment to their mothers as secure, pre-occupied, dismissing, or fearful. A 6-point rating scale is used with the following ratings and respective qualitative meanings: 1 = strongly disagree, 2 = disagree, 3 = somewhat disagree, 4 = somewhat agree, 5 = agree, and 6 = strongly agree. This same 6-point scale was used for the Parental Love Language Scale and the Resilience Measures.
Parental Love Language Scale
This is a 15-item measure of the five-categories of love languages, which are (a) words of affirmation, (b) quality time, (c) gifts, (d) acts of service, and (e) physical touch. Based on the descriptions of Chapman and Campbell (1997), the researchers made three behavioral items to represent each of the love language categories. For the reliability of the measure given the sample of this research, Cronbach’s alpha coefficients were derived as follows: (a) Full Scale (n = 15), α = .93; (b) words of affirmation (n = 3), α = .85; (c) quality time (n = 3), α = .81; (d) gifts (n = 3), α = .81; (e) acts of service (n = 3), α = .73; and (f) physical touch (n = 3), α = .86.
The Child and Youth Resilience Measure–28 (CYRM-28, 2009)
The CYRM-28 (2009) is a 28-item tool designed as part of the International Resilience Project (IRP), of the Resilience Research Centre in Nova Scotia, Canada. It is a screening tool for resilience among the youths aged 12 to 23 years and it adopts an ecological model where individual, relational, communal, and cultural resources could be explored. The computed reliability coefficients using the entire sample are as follows: (a) Full Scale (n =28), α = .91; (b) individual resilience factors (RF; n = 8), α = .70; (c) relationship RF (n = 6), α = .70; (d) community RF (n = 8), α = .76; and (e) cultural RF (n = 6), α = .75.
Short Resilience Scale–7 (SRS-7)
This is a seven-item test of resilience that the researchers developed based on the definition of resilience. The items pertain to a combination of behaviors that can help persons overcome difficulties or confront stresses in more effective ways. The computed reliability coefficient is α = .82 (n = 7). Compared with the CYRM-28, which mostly describes external resources, this measure pertains more to qualities found within the person.
For this research, resilience was measured by combining the items in the CYRM-28 and SRS-7.
The influence of parental determinants on resilience was explored through test of differences via ANOVA, t tests, Pearson product–moment correlation coefficients, and hierarchical multiple regression analysis. Test of differences are first presented followed by the correlational methods.
Test of Differences
Differences in attachment styles
The dominant attachment style of the respondents was identified based on the item rated highest in the Relationship Questionnaire. Only those with one highest rating on the four items were categorized. A total of 564 respondents (66.90% of 843; Secure n = 367, Dismissing n = 100, Pre-occupied n = 77; Fearful n = 20) were categorized. One-way ANOVA was computed. The obtained F(3, 561) = 17.478, p < .001, is significant with attachment having a moderate effect (η2 = .085) on resilience. The Tukey method shows that those with secure attachment have higher resilience level than those with fearful and dismissing attachment.
Differences in level of love received
Two contrasting groups were derived based on the scores in the love language full scale. The resilience level of the upper 27% (those who were loved more; n = 207) and the lower 27% (those who were loved less; n = 235) were compared via t tests for independent samples. The obtained t(440) = −14.913, p < .001, is significant with very large effect (η2 = 0.336). Those who have received more love from their parents have significantly higher resilience (M = 5.1724; SD = .39857) compared with those who have received less love (M = 4.4734; SD = .57969).
Secure attachment has a significant positive relationship with resilience, whereas fearful and dismissing attachments (both avoidant) have a significant negative relationship with resilience. Pre-occupied attachment is not significantly related to resilience. The full scale love language and its categories are positively related to resilience.
Hierarchical Multiple Regression Analysis
Hierarchical multiple regression analyses were computed by first entering attachment measures followed by love languages measures as predictors of resilience. Pre-occupied attachment has insignificant Pearson correlations with resilience and therefore was not entered into the regression.
Resilience Among Young Adults
Attachment Styles significantly contribute to the variability of resilience in all conditions in Model 1 (Table 2) with all F values significant. When combined with Love Languages (Model 2 in Table 2), the variances accounted for by the parental determinants on resilience significantly increase as observed by the higher values of Determination Coefficients (R2) in Model 2 compared with Model 1. Moreover, the added contributions of Love Languages (R2 Change, Model 2), over and above what is contributed by Attachment, are still substantial with all F Change in Model 2 significant.
Given the beta coefficients in Table 3, the substantial parental predictors of resilience (betas italicized and in parentheses) are identified for the general group and for the target subgroupings.
Resilience among the young adults in general
Results show that quality time, words of affirmation, and acts of service from both parents are more substantially associated with the resilience of the general group. While quality time and a secure attachment from fathers associate more to resilience, the mothers’ quality time, words of affirmation, and physical touch substantially relate to the young adults’ resilience.
Resilience among the high stress group
The high stress group consists of the upper 27% scorers in the College Life Stress Inventory (Renner & Mackin, 1998). Quality time from both parents, and even separately, either from fathers or mothers, made a significant contribution to the variation in the resilience of the high stress group. To a certain extent, resilience is also associated with paternal attachment that is more secure (β = .246) and less dismissing (β = −.183).
Resilience among sons
The resilience of sons is substantially accounted for by the love languages quality time and physical touch from both parents. Specifically, quality time from fathers and physical touch from mothers made a higher contribution to the resilience of sons.
Resilience among daughters
Quality time and words of affirmation from both parents made a significant contribution to the variation in the resilience of daughters. Resilience is more associated with quality time from both fathers and mothers. In addition, a secure paternal attachment and words of affirmation from their fathers also link to the daughters’ resilience.
The findings confirm the hypotheses that resilience is positively linked to secure attachment and negatively linked to insecure attachment. Lower resilience is expected of insecure attachment specifically for the avoidant types—fearful and dismissing. Resilience seems to entail approach behaviors that individuals with avoidant attachment would less likely do. Secure persons tend to be more trusting, cooperative, and helpful with reference to others. They would more likely seek help having an internal working model that the others—parents, relatives, teachers, other adults, and peers—are dependable. This coincides with Benzies and Mychasiuk’s (2009) idea of optimizing resilience, that is, secure individuals as opposed to avoidant ones are more likely to strengthen their protective factors at all interactive levels of the socio-ecological model.
The findings likewise support that resilience is positively linked to Parental Love Language. Those who received more love from their parents are more resilient. Chapman and Campbell (1997) described the concept of emotional tank in people, which gets filled when loved by others. When the emotional tank of people is not empty, they can draw out inner strength, which is most especially needed in times of stress.
Parental Determinants of Resilience
The three love languages combined, namely, quality time, words of affirmation, and acts of service, contribute significantly to resilience. Quality time is expressed when parents show genuine interest through attention, listening, understanding feelings, and doing things together with children. Quality time encourages communication and active listening. This corroborates Zabriskiel and McCormick’s (2001) observation that spending time together and enjoying fun activities is associated with kids and parents having a stronger emotional bond.
The emotional recharging provided in quality time enhances resilience
Resilience is likewise linked to receiving words of affirmation from parents that reflect kindness, acceptance, encouragement, and appreciation. Words of encouragement helps promote and restore a person’s self-esteem. This finding is reinforced by Jennifer Kolari’s (2009) descriptions of the long-term impact of words on brain and neurological pathways. Repeated exposure to yelling fuels fear and anxiety, and a poor self-image that conditions children to anticipate poor, unsupportive responses and negative experiences from the world, whereas positive verbal messages, empathy, and the feeling of being heard tend to nurture the self, create positive expectations, and lay the foundation of resilience.
Acts of service entails receiving practical help like finishing house chores, providing needs and wants, as well as being assisted in projects and homework. Resilience in young adults is higher when they recall their parents rendering them needed service like cooking, fixing stuff, and driving among others. Acts of service help build cooperation, trust, and a sense of safety. It promotes resilience as by receiving help, people may develop a more positive schema, that is, life is not after all difficult, that problems have solutions, and that others are available for support. In sum, parental love expressed through (a) quality time, (b) words of affirmation, and (c) acts of service, respectively, provide the emotional, motivational, and practical resources needed to build resilience in young adults.
Paternal and Maternal Influences
Generally, quality time from both parents contributes largely to the resilience of these young adults. In addition, a secure attachment to fathers and the mothers’ expression of love specifically through words of affirmation and physical touch play a role in resilience as well.
The role of a secure paternal attachment on resilience of young adults may relate to the finding of Rosenberg and Wilcox (2006) who contend that the outcome in children is reflected in greater confidence to explore surroundings and better social connections with peers. The interaction of fathers to their children tends to promote independence and an orientation to the outside world. As a guide to the outside world, children are influenced to explore the world comfortably and to exhibit self-control and pro-social behavior. This corroborates Steele and Steele’s (2005) research data suggesting that children’s relationship with their fathers will more likely influence their understanding and resolution of emotional conflicts in the outer world of human interaction—for example, with siblings and peers. Many RFs are elements of the external world. Hence, when children have a secure attachment to their fathers, they are more able to navigate their external world and effectively tap on these RFs.
This study also shows that mothers who express love through physical touch and words of affirmation contribute to the resilience of young adults. Words of affirmation that include encouragement and praises, especially from mothers, can increase self-esteem. Increasing self-esteem enhances feelings of competencies in basic life and problem-solving skills thereby promoting resilience. Mothers who have also provided affection through touch (hugs, kisses, embrace) contributed to the young adults’ resilience. Future research may try to delve more on this connection although the findings seem to correspond with previous studies on touch and its influence on the survival and development of children such as the premature infants placed naked between their mother’s breasts for extended periods of time (Feldman, Weller, Sirota, & Eidelman, 2003). Follow-up studies reveal that by 10 years of age, these children also showed attenuated stress response, improved autonomic functioning, organized sleep, and better cognitive control (Feldman, Rosenthal, & Eidelman, 2014). Another connected study is on how massage therapy was shown to increase the weight of pre-term babies (Field, 2001) and to decrease the stress hormone cortisol and increase one’s immune function (Field, 1998). It has proven to alleviate stress related to job, aging, and pregnancy (Field, Hernandez-Reif, Diego, Schanberg, & Kuhn, 2005). Field (2002) also observed that intervention using massage therapy decreased aggressive behavior and increased empathetic behavior among violent adolescents. From these corroborative studies, it may be implied that when young adults receive loving physical touch, most specially from their mothers, it is related to a more effective structure in the brain and the body that allows them to behave more effectively. These behavioral and cognitive controls are essential in building resilience.
High Stress Group
Quality time is a strong predictor of the resilience among the high stress group. Stress can cause emotional exhaustion; hence, stressed people need a nurturing companion to restore emotional strength. Having someone who encourages communication helps stressed people process the distressing emotions that accompany stress. Clear and open communication allows them to share their reactions, accept emotions, and link them to outside sources of support.
It can be observed that a secure paternal attachment, and not a dismissing one, predicts the resilience of the high stress group. Earlier it was mentioned that fathers orient children to the external world, an outdoors approach as termed by Doucet (2009). A secure connection with fathers facilitates the development of an internal working model that the external world is trustworthy. Securely attached individuals are more comfortable exploring their environment allowing them to find the resources they need to handle their stresses.
Resilience Among Sons and Daughters
Sons need quality time from their fathers. By spending quality time with their sons, fathers are able to model and teach behaviors necessary for living. Therapist, educator, and author Michael Gurian (1998) discussed the role of the masculine nurturing system in the development of adolescent boys who seek the challenge and kindness of environments full of male energy to inculcate discipline, morality teaching, and emotional sustenance. By reviewing studies on the role of fathers, it was noted that they spend more stimulating and playful activities with their children (Doucet, 2009; Rosenberg & Wilcox, 2006). Children learn to regulate their feelings and behavior in these interactions. Roughhousing, often engaged in by boys with their fathers, can teach children to deal with aggressive impulses and physical contact without losing control of their emotions. The skills and behavioral control processes learned by sons from their fathers could enhance their resilience.
Sons also need physical touch from their mothers as this predicts their resilience. Gurian (1998) described the emerging brain of an adolescent male during the second decade. Being more spatial than females and with increasing testosterone levels, boys tend toward activities that verge on violence, physical activity, physical gesturing, and physical play. Males will then be more likely to be physical having fewer verbal tools than females in response to intense emotive reactions like anger. Given the advantage of physical touch on stabilizing physiological responses, it can be implied that young adult males who have received more maternal physical touch will tend to be more resilient, able to regulate their aggressive impulses, and capable of behavioral control.
Sons need quality time from their fathers, and daughters need quality time from their mothers. Gender socialization occurs when children experience different child care behaviors from their mothers and fathers. Reviewed Filipino studies (Liwag, Dela Cruz, & Macapagal, 2002) show that although many Filipinos share the belief that child-rearing practice is a joint parental responsibility, in reality, the mother is still ranked as the primary caretaker of her children. It was also reported that during childhood years, girls naturally become closer to their mothers while boys become closer to their fathers. In the normal course of gender identity formation, daughters and sons identify with their same-sexed parent. Parents then become powerful models of masculine and feminine behaviors for their children. Daughters could learn best to solve problems encountered by women through their relationship with their mothers. From their fathers, daughters need to feel secure and receive words of acceptance, appreciation, and encouragement from them. This supports findings that positive father–daughter relationships have shown benefits in the areas of career success, relations with other men, trust, joy, and self-confidence (Nielsen, 2007).
Parental factors are one of the external resources of resilience. The study indicates that approach behaviors, characterized by secure attachment, make one more resilient as opposed to avoidant behaviors. Results also imply that loving parents raise resilient children. Three love languages, namely, quality time, words of affirmation, and acts of service, contribute most to resilience. To love effectively, parents need to, first, be a presence in the lives of their children, that is, to become a source of emotional support. Second, parents need to be an affirmer of their children’s strengths and, third, to be a loving steward by providing the practical needs of their children. Quality time, words of affirmation, and acts of service are love languages that provide emotional, motivational, and practical resources, respectively. When children are loved well by their parents, their emotional tank gets filled and they get primed, bodily and psychologically, to face the challenges of life.
This study also provides insight on paternal and maternal influences most contributing of the young adults’ resilience. Quality time from both parents is a basic love language that contributes most to resilience, especially when high stress is encountered. A secure attachment to fathers is an advantage as they have the role of orienting their children to the external world. When securely attached to fathers, children are more likely to view their external environment as a relatively safe and comfortable place to explore. The mother’s nurturing role, through affirming words and physical affection, contribute to resilience as this may help build self-esteem. Moreover, the loving touch of mothers helps the body to respond with lesser anxiety and greater calm. Maternal love appears to enhance the children’s physical and psychological readiness to confront the demands of the external world. This research provided evidence that parental love is a protective factor that allows children to build resilience and its effect continues even until young adulthood.
Fathers and mothers have essential roles in developing resilience in their children. Both sons and daughters need quality time most especially from their parents of the same sex. Apart from emotional support, quality time allows for the social learning of skills that father–sons and mother–daughters relationship could provide. In sum, this study supports the hypothesis that secure attachment and greater parental love result to higher resilience in young adults.
Several recommendations could be made from this study’s findings. First, young adults are encouraged to continue their bonds with their parents and family and to increase their awareness of available support systems that help build their resilience. Parents are urged to spend quality time with their children, to affirm their worth, and continue providing practical help. Related community institutions (schools, churches, mental health agencies, government sector, etc.) could foster resilience building programs among its constituents through relevant activities such as curriculum development in schools, seminar/workshop offerings, and the establishment or strengthening of supportive agencies.
Future research may explore how far parent–child attachment and parental love languages can predict or influence resilience throughout adulthood. Although this study proved that the variables parental attachment and love are predictive of resilience, other explanatory research designs are called for to validate a cause and effect relationship. This study included a very limited age range and setting for its respondents. Different findings may result granting a more diverse age group and population.
Declaration of Conflicting Interests The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.
Funding The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research and/or authorship of this article: This research was funded by the University Research Grant Program for the Graduate School Faculty of Saint Louis University, Baguio City, Philippines.
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Sally I. Maximo is a faculty member of the Department of Psychology in Saint Louis University, Baguio City, Philippines (SLU). Sally Maximo is also a consulting psychotherapist of the SLU Sunflower Children’s Center (Baguio City, Philippines). She caters to adolescent and adult clients.
Jennifer S. Carranza is a faculty member of the Department of Psychology in Saint Louis University, Baguio City, Philippines (SLU). Jennifer S. Carranza has special interest in early childhood development.