Insecure attachment and resilience may be associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) severity, and those with anxious attachment and low resilience have the highest levels of PTSD symptoms, according to a study presented in a poster session at the Anxiety and Depression Association of America 2021 Virtual Conference.
Researchers from Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, studied 846 participants recruited from a local urban public hospital, 78% of whom were female; 95.2% identified as African American or black. They collected measures of attachment, resilience, and trauma exposure. PTSD symptom severity was assessed using the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale for DSM-5 (CAPS-5).
“Attachment anxiety, attachment avoidance, trauma exposure, and resilience variables were entered into a hierarchical linear regression analysis to examine the unique associations of attachment and resilience on PTSD symptom severity,” researchers said.
“Exploratory analysis of variance analyses revealed a significant interaction between resilience and anxious attachment style predicting PTSD symptom severity, such that those with low resilience and high attachment anxiety were most symptomatic.”
“These findings suggest that insecure attachment is strongly associated with post-traumatic psychopathology, and resilience may mitigate PTSD symptom severity. Resilience is a modifiable dynamic process that may be a relevant treatment target.”
This study supports prior research that found that insecure attachment is strongly associated with post-traumatic psychopathology, and resilience may buffer the effects of trauma, researchers said.
Dixon H, Fani N, Bradley B, et al. Insecure attachment and level of resilience predict PTSD symptom severity. Poster presented at the Anxiety and Depression Association of America 2021 Virtual Conference; March 18, 2021; Virtual.