Attachment theory (Bowlby, Attachment and loss: Vol. 2. Separation: Anxiety and anger. New York: Basic Books, 1973; Attachment and loss: Vol. 3. Sadness and depression. New York: Basic Books, 1980; Attachment and loss: Vol. 1. Attachment (2nd ed.). New York: Basic Books, 1982) is one of the most fruitful contemporary frameworks for understanding emotion regulation and mental health. Adult attachment research has provided strong evidence for the anxiety-buffering function, of what Bowlby called the attachment behavioral system, and for the importance of individual differences in attachment in shaping psychological resilience, distress management, coping with stress, and adjustment (see Mikulincer and Shaver, Attachment in adulthood: Structure, dynamics, and change. New York: Guilford Press, 2007, for a review). In this chapter, we present an attachment perspective on emotional problems resulting from traumatic events. Following a brief overview of attachment theory’s basic concepts, we focus on the implications of the theory for emotion regulation and mental health in general, and for traumatic reactions and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in particular. We review research findings showing that attachment insecurities-called attachment anxiety and avoidance in the theory-are associated with the severity of PTSD symptoms, and that the sense of attachment security has a healing effect on these symptoms. We also review recent findings regarding the reciprocal, recursive, amplifying cycle of PTSD symptoms and attachment insecurities over time.
|Title of host publication||Future Directions in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder|
|Subtitle of host publication||Prevention, Diagnosis, and Treatment|
|Number of pages||18|
|State||Published - 1 Jan 2015|
- Close relationships
- Posttraumatic stress disorder