Psychosocial Dynamics in Attachment Styles Among Runaway Children

Srishti Kapoor, Kailash Panwar, Kshitija Wason - Institutionalised Children Explorations and Beyond


For a child to leave the parental umbrella is an act of rebellion, emotional hurt and physical distancing. Despite being a frequent occurrence, running away from home still remains one of the less addressed problems in India. Factors like lack of communication and attachment to parents, abuse, poverty and peer influence have a crucial role in shaping such behaviours. The present research study is an exploratory study to examine these factors with a sample size of 100 runaway children (50 girls, 50 boys) residing in a non-governmental organisation in NCR, Delhi. The mean age of the sample is 14.4 years. Quantitative measures like Inventory of Parents and Peer Attachment (Greenberg, 1987; Gullone & Robinson, 2005), Emotional Regulation Questionnaire (Gross & John, 2003), Kind of Person Implicit Theory Scale (Dweck, 1999) and Satisfaction with Life Scale-Child (Gadermann et al., 2012) were used. Findings indicate a significant role of peer attachment versus parental attachment with a clear gender disparity seen in attachment styles. The repercussions of findings are immense to the rehabilitation sector with special focus on creating models of alternative care which could harness these dynamics. How models of rehabilitation could systemically harness peer attachment and create parallel edifices of emotional regulation are other aspects this research focuses upon. The study has implications for intervention-based programmes for runaways as it can help to understand their perils and make positive changes.