Support-Seeking and Active Coping Mitigate the Association Between Posttrauma Symptom Severity and Attachment Insecurity in a Community Sample of Trauma Survivors

Thomas J. Shaw, Brett K. Jakubiak, Jillian R. Scheer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

There is an established association between posttrauma symptom severity (PTSS) and attachment insecurity (anxiety and avoidance). However, few studies have examined this association among community samples of trauma-exposed individuals and identified factors that might moderate these associations. We sought to (a) replicate existing associations between PTSS and attachment insecurity in a community sample of trauma survivors and (b) determine the potential moderating role of support-seeking and coping behaviors. Our sample included 824 trauma-exposed individuals (MPCL-5 = 31.6, SD = 20.0; Mage = 37.4, SD = 13.2; 69.3% female; 79.1% White; 77.2% heterosexual). Participants completed an online survey via Amazon Mechanical Turk. Linear regression and moderation analyses tested the association between PTSS and attachment insecurity and whether support-seeking and coping behaviors moderated these associations. PTSS was positively associated with global attachment anxiety (b =.48, 95% confidence interval [.42,.54]) and global attachment avoidance (b =.06, [.15,.29]). The association between PTSS and attachment avoidance was weaker for people who reported greater instrumental and emotional support-seeking or greater active coping. This study provides evidence for the association between PTSS and attachment insecurity. Findings underscore the need to understand causal mechanisms underlying this association and critically evaluate how existing and future interventions can buffer attachment insecurity in trauma-exposed individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalTraumatology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • Attachment
  • Coping
  • Help-seeking behaviors
  • Social support
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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