Attachment styles in patients with avoidant personality disorder compared with social phobia.
Eikenaes Ingeborg,Pedersen Geir,Wilberg Theresa
Psychology and psychotherapy
OBJECTIVES:Avoidant personality disorder (AvPD) and social phobia (SP) are common, closely related conditions. Little is known about the underlying processes related to the social discomfort of subjects with AvPD and SP. Both disorders are associated with interpersonal problems. An attachment perspective may shed light on similarities and differences in close relationships between the disorders. The aim of the study was to compare self-reported attachment styles in patients with AvPD and SP. We expected that patients with AvPD would have more attachment anxiety and avoidance and more often a Fearful attachment style, compared with SP. DESIGN:This is a cross-sectional multisite study of 90 adult patients with AvPD and SP. Patients with AvPD with and without SP (AvPD group) were compared with patients with SP without AvPD (SP group). METHODS:Patients were assessed using structured diagnostic interviews and self-reporting questionnaires, including Experiences in Close Relationships (ECR). The ECR dimensions, Anxiety and Avoidance, and the new described five factors of the ECR were used. RESULTS:The AvPD group had higher levels of attachment anxiety than the SP group, especially for the sub-factors Anxiety for abandonment and Separation frustration. The diagnostic groups did not differ in levels of avoidance. Anxiety for abandonment was still associated with AvPD after controlling for symptom disorders and the criteria of other personality disorders. A Fearful attachment style was more frequent among patients with AvPD. CONCLUSIONS:The results indicate AvPD is associated with more attachment anxiety than SP. Fear of abandonment may play a significant role in the AvPD pathology. PRACTITIONER POINTS:This is the first study to compare attachment styles in patients with avoidant personality disorder (AvPD) and social phobia (SP). The AvPD group had higher attachment-related anxiety than the SP group, and anxiety was most pronounced for the fear of abandonment. Fear of abandonment may play an important role in the AvPD pathology.
Parental Attachment and Adjustment to College: The Mediating Role of Avoidant Coping.
Bishop David I,Hansen Anika M,Keil Alahna J,Phoenix Iloria V
The Journal of genetic psychology
Many studies have documented an association between parental attachment and college student adjustment. Few studies have explored the mechanisms underlying this association. The authors asked college students nearing the end of their first academic year to complete instruments measuring parental attachment, coping, and adjustment to college. Structural equation modeling was used to model mediation separately for attachment to mother and father. Avoidant coping mechanisms (operationalized as denial, mental disengagement, behavioral disengagement, and substance use) significantly mediated the parental attachment and adjustment to college relationship. Self-sufficient coping mechanisms (operationalized as planning, positive reinterpretation, acceptance, active coping, and suppression) did not mediate the parental attachment and adjustment to college relationship.
The impact of avoidant attachment on marital satisfaction of Chinese married people: Multiple mediating effect of spousal support and coping tendency.
In this study, the relationship between attachment avoidance and marital satisfaction of Chinese married people as well as the multiple mediating role of spousal support and coping tendency were explored. A model was developed using data of a sample of 510 Chinese married people. Four scales (the Experience of Close Relationships Scale, the Support Scale in Intimate Relationships, the Simple Coping Style Scale, and the Olson Marital Quality Questionnaire) were used to assess attachment avoidance, spousal support, coping tendency, and marital satisfaction, respectively. The results of correlation analysis showed that attachment avoidance was significantly negatively correlated with spousal support, coping tendency, and marital satisfaction. Spousal support was significantly positively correlated with both coping tendency and marital satisfaction. Coping tendency was significantly positively correlated with marital satisfaction. The mediation model indicated significant mediating effects of spousal support and coping tendency between attachment avoidance and marital satisfaction, respectively, where the mediating path of spousal support exerted the largest effect. The multiple mediating effect of attachment avoidance → spousal support → coping tendency → marital satisfaction was also significant. Chinese married people with high levels of attachment avoidance might perceive lower levels of spousal support and are therefore more inclined to employ negative coping when handling conflicts, which lowers marital satisfaction.
Attention Bias of Avoidant Individuals to Attachment Emotion Pictures.
Liu Ying,Ding Yi,Lu Luluzi,Chen Xu
How attachment style affects emotion processing is tightly connected with individuals' attention bias. This experiment explored avoidant individuals' attentional engagement and attentional disengagement using a cue-target paradigm in fMRI. The experimental group consisted of 17 avoidant participants, while the control group consisted of 16 secure participants; these were identified by the Experiences in Close Relationships inventory and the Relationship Questionnaire. Each reacted to pictures of positive parent-child attachment, negative parent-child attachment, positive romantic attachment, negative romantic attachment, and neutral non-attachment. Behaviorally, avoidant individuals were slower than secure individuals in responding to emotions and their attentional disengagement effect for negative parent-child emotions was stronger than positive ones. fMRI results showed that avoidant compared to secure individuals activated more strongly in the right superior temporal gyrus, middle occipital gyrus, and the left medial frontal gyrus, middle occipital gyrus, supplementary motor area, and cingulate gyrus. They also showed stronger activation in disengaging from positive than negative emotions in the bilateral fusiform and middle occipital gyri. In conclusion, avoidant individuals could detect emotions as effective as secure individuals in attentioal engaging stages. They can disengage from positive emotions with effective cognitive resources and were harder to get rid of negative emotions with insufficient resource.
Differentiating the effects of anxious and avoidant attachment on depression and resilience following trauma.
Journal of American college health : J of ACH
Few studies have explored the impact of insecure attachment on college student mental health. The present study examined how anxious and avoidant attachment to a mother, father, and best friend were related to depression and resilience in emerging adults exposed to trauma. Participants included 372 trauma-exposed emerging adults, aged 18-24 (=19.64, = 1.62), from a university in the Midsouth, United States. : Participants completed an assessment battery of self-report measures to determine how maternal, paternal, and best friend insecure attachment each uniquely contribute to the variance in depression and resilience. Hierarchical linear regression analyses revealed that anxious and avoidant attachment to a best friend were associated with lower resilience, but only anxious attachment to a best friend was associated with more depressive symptoms. Findings highlight the importance of cultivating healthy relationships in a university setting to foster secure peer attachments for emerging adults exposed to adversity.
Childhood trauma increases vulnerability to attempt suicide in adulthood through avoidant attachment.
BACKGROUND:Childhood trauma and affective disorders are known risk factors for adult suicidal behavior. Studies have shown a mediating effect of insecure attachment on the effect of childhood trauma and suicidal behavior but so far it is not clear whether this effect is related to an attachment dimension (anxiety, avoidance). AIM:The present study sought to examine the mediating effect of attachment anxiety and avoidance on suicidal behavior. METHODS:We analyzed data on childhood trauma, attachment style, depression severity, presence of prior suicide attempts and current suicide ideation from 96 patients diagnosed with an affective disorder. Two mediation analyses were conducted to assess the effect of childhood trauma on 1) prior suicide attempts and 2) current suicidal ideation through its effect on attachment. RESULTS:We found that childhood trauma had a complete mediated effect on the presence of prior suicide attempts through its effect on avoidant attachment (ab = 0.0120, 95%-CI [0.0031, 0.0276]). However, only emotional abuse had a direct influence on suicidal ideation (c' = 0.0273, p < 0.01) without any indirect effect of anxious or avoidant attachment. LIMITATIONS:Variables were not assessed in a prospective way and sample size was small. CONCLUSIONS:Our findings suggest that individuals with avoidant attachment and childhood trauma are likely to present a high suicide risk. Since avoidant attachment is associated with altered perceptions and eventual rejection of social support, we recommend to screen for attachment early and to engage patients in therapeutical approaches focusing on the client-therapist alliance.