Attachment and pathological personality traits in a psychiatric sample
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There is increasing interest in the role of attachment in the treatment of personality pathology. Yet, attachment-personality research has rarely used the most modern model of personality pathology—the dimensional-categorical model. Compared to the traditional categorical model, this alternative model assesses dysfunction and maladaptive traits instead of symptom thresholds. The current study is first to utilize the dimensional-categorical model to study the relationship between attachment and personality with a psychiatric sample. Self-report measures of attachment and personality pathology were administered to psychiatric outpatients prior to their initial meeting with a psychiatrist (N = 150). Bivariate correlations determined whether attachment dimensions were associated with total and domain- specific personality pathology. Regression analyses investigated the extent to which attachment dimensions uniquely predicted personality pathology. Insecure attachment positively correlated with overall personality pathology, with attachment anxiety having a stronger correlation than attachment avoidance. Distinct relationships emerged between attachment anxiety and negative affectivity and between attachment avoidance and detachment. Insecure attachment and male gender predicted overall personality pathology, but only attachment anxiety predicted all five trait-domains. Insecure attachment might be a risk factor for pathological personality traits. Assessing attachment in clinical contexts and incorporating attachment-building strategies could benefit interpersonal and treatment outcomes.
DegreeMaster of Science (M.Sc.)
CommitteeMcWilliams, Lachlan; Olson, Trevor; Lodhi, Rohit; Balbuena, Lloyd; Cummings, Jorden
Copyright DateJune 2021