A meta‐analytic review of the relationship between attachment styles and posttraumatic growth

Amanda Gleeson, David Curran, Rachel Reeves, Martin J. Dorahy, Donncha Hanna*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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Abstract

Objective: The present review aimed to examine the relationship between attachment styles and posttraumatic growth in adults exposed to traumatizing events. 
Method: A systematic literature search resulted in the inclusion of 14 studies in the review. Four correlational meta‐analyses of the relationship between the attachment styles of secure, dismissive, preoccupied, and fearful, and posttraumatic growth, were conducted. 
Results: These revealed a significant small positive relationship between secure attachment and posttraumatic growth (r = 0.21, p < 0.001); a significant small negative relationship between dismissive attachment and posttraumatic growth (r = −0.12, p < 0.001), and a weak relationship between preoccupied attachment and posttraumatic growth (r = −0.04, p = 0.235), and fearful attachment and posttraumatic growth (r = 0.08, p = 0.248). 
Conclusions: The relationship between attachment styles and posttraumatic growth is modest and may be better explained by other variables. Nonetheless, findings provide useful information for clinicians regarding the potential small impact of attachment style following traumatizing exposure. Implications for future research are highlighted with respect to methodological rigor and the role of other potentially influential variables.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Clinical Psychology
Early online date20 May 2021
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online date - 20 May 2021

Keywords

  • REVIEW ARTICLE
  • REVIEW ARTICLES
  • adults
  • attachment
  • posttraumatic growth
  • posttraumatic stress disorder
  • PTSD
  • trauma

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