Attachment as a Mediator between Childhood Maltreatment and Adult Symptomatology

Author: Muller, Robert T.; Thornback, Kristin; Bedi, Ritu

Description: This study examined the mediating role of attachment in the relationship between childhood maltreatment perpetrated by parents and adult symptomatology. Young adults (N = 803), with and without a history of abuse, were recruited from a local university to complete a series of questionnaires inquiring about past maltreatment experiences, adult attachment in current close relationships, and psychological symptomatology. While attachment was found to be a mediator for all three types of abuse when they were looked at individually, a more robust mediated effect was found in the case of psychological abuse. When all three types of parental maltreatment (psychological, physical, and exposure to family violence) were considered simultaneously, attachment mediated the relationship between only psychological abuse and symptomatology. Parallel meditated effects were observed across two measures of symptomatology: trauma-related symptomatology and externalizing and internalizing symptomatology. The results of this study further our understanding of psychological maltreatment and its intra-individual correlates.

Subject headings: Attachment; Children; Abuse; Adults; Parents; Symptoms; Mediator

Publication year: 2012

Journal or book title: Journal of Family Violence

Volume: 27

Issue: 3

Pages: 243-255

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Serial number: 3256

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