Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
Mandatory Fields
Murphy S.;Elklit A.;Hyland P.;Shevlin M.
Insecure attachment orientations and posttraumatic stress in a female treatment-seeking sample of survivors of childhood sexual abuse: A cross-lagged panel study
Optional Fields
Attachment anxiety Attachment avoidance Cross-lagged analysis Posttraumatic stress Temporal ordering
© 2016 American Psychological Association. Adult attachment theory is increasingly being conceptualized within a traumatic framework, however, few studies have examined temporal relationships between the insecure attachment orientations (attachment anxiety and attachment avoidance) and symptoms of posttraumatic stress (PTS). PTS refers to symptoms associated with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the absence of a clinical diagnosis of PTSD. This prospective study assesses the temporal relations between the 2 attachment dimensions of anxiety and avoidance and PTS among a treatment-seeking sample of female survivors of childhood sexual abuse (CSA). Cross-lagged panel analysis was employed to assess the temporal relations between insecure attachment orientations and PTS using the Revised Adult Attachment Scale (RAAS) and the Harvard Trauma Questionnaire (HTQ). Initial assessment was on average 23 years after the onset of abuse (N=405), and participants were followed-up after 6 months (N=245) and 12 months (N=119). PTS levels and insecure attachment declined over the 12-month period. Cross lagged panel analyses indicated that over the longer-term course of PTS, insecure attachment orientations are significantly related to PTS. While these associations were relatively weak in magnitude, temporal relations nevertheless remain. Specifically attachment avoidance appears to be the more relevant orientation in PTS across the 3 time points in the study. Current results provide insight into the temporal relations between insecure attachment orientations and symptoms of PTS. The findings are discussed in terms of the existing trauma literature.
Grant Details