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Attachment typologies and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and anxiety: a latent profile analysis approach

Author(s): Cherie Armour | Ask Elklit | Mark Shevlin

Journal: European Journal of Psychotraumatology
ISSN 2000-8066

Volume: 2;
Start page: 1;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: Attachment typology | latent profile analysis | posttraumatic stress disorder | depression | anxiety

Bartholomew (1990) proposed a four category adult attachment model based on Bowlby's (1973) proposal that attachment is underpinned by an individual's view of the self and others. Previous cluster analytic techniques have identified four and two attachment styles based on the Revised Adult Attachment Scale (RAAS). In addition, attachment styles have been proposed to meditate the association between stressful life events and subsequent psychiatric status. The current study aimed to empirically test the attachment typology proposed by Collins and Read (1990). Specifically, LPA was used to determine if the proposed four styles can be derived from scores on the dimensions of closeness/dependency and anxiety. In addition, we aimed to test if the resultant attachment styles predicted the severity of psychopathology in response to a whiplash trauma. A large sample of Danish trauma victims (N=1577) participated. A Latent Profile Analysis was conducted, using Mplus 5.1, on scores from the RAAS scale to ascertain if there were underlying homogeneous attachment classes/subgroups. Class membership was used in a series of one-way ANOVA tests to determine if classes were significantly different in terms of mean scores on measures of psychopathology. The three class solution was considered optimal. Class one was termed Fearful (18.6%), Class two Preoccupied (34.5%), and Class three Secure (46.9%). The secure class evidenced significantly lower mean scores on PTSD, depression, and anxiety measures compared to other classes, whereas the fearful class evidenced significantly higher mean scores compared to other classes. The results demonstrated evidence of three discrete classes of attachment styles, which were labelled secure, preoccupied, and fearful. This is in contrast to previous cluster analytic techniques which have identified four and two attachment styles based on the RAAS.In addition, Securely attached individuals display lower levels of psychopathology post whiplash trauma.For the abstract or full text in other languages, please see Supplementary files under Reading Tools online

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