Trajectories of attachment in older age: interpersonal trauma and its consequences

Rahel Bachem*, Yafit Levin, Zahava Solomon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Previous studies suggest that attachment insecurities may increase after trauma exposure, an effect documented only at a group level. This study explores the heterogeneity of changes over time and examines the associations of the nature of the traumatic event (interpersonal and nonpersonal), and its consequences (posttraumatic stress disorder [PTSD] and loneliness) with attachment trajectories. Two groups of Israeli veterans participated: 164 former prisoners-of-war and 185 combat veterans. Attachment was assessed at four points (1991–2015). Risk factors were evaluated in 1991. Using latent growth mixture modeling, trajectories of attachment insecurities were explored. Three avoidance trajectories (stability, decrease, inverse u-shaped) and two anxiety trajectories (stability, decrease) were identified. The inverse u-shaped avoidance trajectory was associated with captivity, humiliation, loneliness, and PTSD, and stable avoidance was associated with loneliness. Stable anxiety was associated with captivity and loneliness. Attachment insecurities can change during aging and persist decades after a trauma. Trauma-related risk factors are related to more deleterious trajectories.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)352-371
Number of pages20
JournalAttachment and Human Development
Volume21
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 4 Jul 2019

Funding

FundersFunder number
Schweizerischer Nationalfonds zur Förderung der Wissenschaftlichen Forschung168377
Israel Science Foundation1916/12
Israeli Centers for Research Excellence
Planning and Budgeting Committee of the Council for Higher Education of Israel

    Keywords

    • Attachment insecurities
    • older age
    • risk factor
    • trajectories
    • war trauma

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