Childhood sexual and physical abuse and adult vulnerability to PTSD: The mediating effects of attachment and dissociation

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Abstract

Two hundred and eighty-four adults from the metropolitan New York area reported on their history of childhood sexual abuse (CSA), childhood physical abuse (CPA), and on the nature of their exposure to the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. The respondents also completed the Impact of Events Scale-Revised (IES-R), the Attachment Style Questionnaire (ASQ) and the Dissociative Experiences Scale (DES). Those reporting histories of CSA and/or CPA were found to endorse more serious symptoms of PTSD, as did those who witnessed the terrorist attack live. The presence of secure attachments and dissociative symptoms were related significantly to both CSA and CPA, and to scores on the IES-R. Adult attachment and dissociation were found to mediate the relationship between childhood abuse and severity of PTSD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-38
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Child Sexual Abuse
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 20 Sep 2004

Keywords

  • Adult attachment
  • Child physical abuse
  • Child sexual abuse
  • Dissociation
  • Posttraumatic stress
  • Terrorism

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