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The relationship between adult attachment style and post-traumatic stress symptoms: A meta-analysis

Woodhouse, S., Ayers, S. & Field, A. P. (2015). The relationship between adult attachment style and post-traumatic stress symptoms: A meta-analysis. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 35(Oct), pp. 103-117. doi: 10.1016/j.janxdis.2015.07.002


There is increasing evidence that adult attachment plays a role in the development and perseverance of symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This meta-analysis aims to synthesise this evidence and investigate the relationship between adult attachment styles and PTSD symptoms. A random-effects model was used to analyse 46 studies (N = 9268) across a wide range of traumas. Results revealed a medium association between secure attachment and lower PTSD symptoms (ρ =-.27), and a medium association, in the opposite direction, between insecure attachment and higher PTSD symptoms (ρ =.26). Attachment categories comprised of high levels of anxiety most strongly related to PTSD symptoms, with fearful attachment displaying the largest association (ρ =.44). Dismissing attachment was not significantly associated with PTSD symptoms. The relationship between insecure attachment and PTSD was moderated by type of PTSD measure (interview or questionnaire) and specific attachment category (e.g. secure, fearful). Results have theoretical and clinical significance.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2015 Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
Publisher Keywords: Clinical Sciences, Psychology
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Departments: School of Health Sciences
Text - Accepted Version
Available under License : See the attached licence file.

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