Insecure adult attachment is consistently related to posttrauma functioning, but this relation has rarely been examined prospectively across a wide range of potentially traumatic events (PTEs). In addition, the mediating mechanisms for this relation are not yet fully understood. Therefore, the first aim of this study was to assess whether pretrauma attachment orientation would predict changes in functioning following a PTE. The second aim was to determine whether social support would mediate this relation. Undergraduate students (N = 1,084) completed pre-PTE measures of psychological and social well-being at Time 1 (T1); 73% (N = 789) completed a follow up survey 2 months later (Time 2; T2). Those who reported experiencing PTE between T1 and T2 completed a final follow-up survey 4 months after T1 (Time 3; T3). Insecure attachment orientation predicted increases in PTSD, psychological distress and aggression, and decreases in social functioning from T1 to T3. These relations were mediated by perceptions of social support reported at T2. These findings have important implications for research and practice with populations exposed to potentially traumatic events.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. September 2013. Major: Psychology. Advisor: Patricia A. Frazier, Ph.D. and Jeffry A. Simpson, Ph.D. 1 computer file (PDF); viii, 89 pages, appendices A-D.
Shallcross, Sandra Lynn.
Social support mediates the relation between attachment and responses to potentially traumatic events.
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