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Child Abuse Negl. 2013 Nov;37(11):926-33. doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2013.03.004. Epub 2013 Apr 25.

Attachment insecurity mediates the relationship between childhood trauma and eating disorder psychopathology in a clinical sample: a structural equation model.

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  • 1University of Ottawa, Canada; The Ottawa Hospital, Canada; Carleton University, Canada.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

Childhood maltreatment occurs often among those with an eating disorder and is considered a nonspecific risk factor. However, the mechanisms by which childhood maltreatment may lead to an eating disorder are not well understood. The current study tests a model in which attachment insecurity is hypothesized to mediate the relationship between childhood maltreatment and eating disorder psychopathology.

METHOD:

Treatment seeking adults with eating disorders (N=308) completed questionnaires about childhood maltreatment, eating disorder psychopathology, and adult attachment.

RESULTS:

Structural equation models indicated that childhood trauma had a direct effect on eating disorder symptoms. Also, attachment anxiety and avoidance each equally mediated the childhood maltreatment to eating disorder psychopathology relationship.

CONCLUSIONS:

Attachment insecurity, characterized by affect dysregulation and interpersonal sensitivities may help to explain why eating disorder symptoms may be one consequence of childhood maltreatment in a clinical sample. Clinicians treating primarily those with trauma might assess for disordered eating as a potential manifestation of the sequelae of trauma and attachment insecurity.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

KEYWORDS:

Attachment; Child abuse and trauma scale; Childhood maltreatment; Eating disorders; Structural equation modeling; Trauma

PMID:
23623443
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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