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The role of attachment anxiety in the relationship between childhood trauma and schizophrenia-spectrum psychosis.

TitleThe role of attachment anxiety in the relationship between childhood trauma and schizophrenia-spectrum psychosis.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsChatziioannidis, S., Andreou C., Agorastos A., Kaprinis S., Malliaris Y., Garyfallos G., & Bozikas V. P.
JournalPsychiatry Res
Date Published2019 06
KeywordsAdult, Adult Survivors of Child Adverse Events, Anxiety, Case-Control Studies, Female, Hallucinations, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Object Attachment, Psychopathology, Psychotic Disorders, Risk Factors, Schizophrenia, Schizophrenic Psychology

Childhood trauma (CT) is a comprehensive concept encompassing experiences of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse, and neglect during childhood and adolescence. Patients with schizophrenia-spectrum psychosis (SSP) display higher rates of CT than healthy controls. Among the potential mediators of this association, insecure attachment has gained attention and empirical validation. The present study aimed to extend existing knowledge on this field by exploring the role of the two attachment dimensions, attachment anxiety and attachment avoidance, in the CT-SSP association. A clinical sample of 63 SSP inpatients was compared to a healthy control group on CT and attachment style measures. Correlations between CT, attachment dimensions and psychopathology were sought. Mediation analyses were also performed to examine whether attachment anxiety and/or attachment avoidance mediated the CT-SSP association. Patients displayed higher rates of CT and insecure attachment than controls. Attachment anxiety and severity of Mother Antipathy were linked to severity of hallucinations. Attachment anxiety was recognized as the sole mediator of the CT-SSP association. Our findings suggest that individuals with severe CT and increased attachment anxiety represent a risk population warranting early clinical attention, regular monitoring and tailored therapeutic interventions aimed at reducing the psychological impact of trauma.

Alternate JournalPsychiatry Res
PubMed ID31112856


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