Format

Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2014 Dec;22(12):1603-12. doi: 10.1016/j.jagp.2014.02.003. Epub 2014 Feb 19.

Post-traumatic stress symptoms and adult attachment: a 24-year longitudinal study.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA. Electronic address: cfranz@ucsd.edu.
2
Department of Psychology, Boston University, Boston, MA.
3
Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA.
4
Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA; Center of Excellence for Stress and Mental Health, VA San Diego Healthcare System, San Diego, CA.
5
University of Chicago, Chicago, IL.
6
Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA; Department of Public Health, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.
7
Department of Statistics, St. Louis University, St. Louis, MO; Research Service, VA St. Louis Healthcare System, St. Louis, MO.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

Attachment theory has become a key framework for understanding responses to and consequences of trauma across the life course. We predicted that more severe post-traumatic stress (PTS) symptoms at age 37 years would be associated with insecure attachment at age 55 and with worse PTS symptoms 24 years later at age 61, and that age 55 attachment would mediate the influence of earlier PTS symptoms on later symptoms.

DESIGN:

Data on PTS self-reported symptoms were available for 975 community-dwelling participants from the longitudinal Vietnam Era Twin Study of Aging at ages 37 and 61 years. At age 55, participants completed the Experiences in Close Relationships Inventory, a measure of adult attachment.

RESULTS:

PTS symptoms at ages 37 and 61 correlated (r = 0.43; p <0.0001). Multiple mediation models found significant direct effects of age 37 PTS symptoms on age 61 PTS symptoms (β = 0.26; 95% confidence interval: 0.19-0.33). Anxious and avoidant attachment at age 55 predicted PTS symptoms at age 61 (r = 0.34 and 0.25; ps <0.0001, respectively) and also significantly mediated PTS symptoms over time, showing that insecure attachment increased PTS severity. Participants with higher age 37 PTS symptoms were more likely to have a history of divorce; marital status did not mediate PTS.

CONCLUSIONS:

Analyses demonstrate the persistence of PTS symptoms from early midlife into early old age. Mediation analyses revealed that one path through which PTS symptoms persisted was indirect: through their influence on attachment insecurity. This study provides insight into ongoing interconnections between psychological and interpersonal responses to stress.

KEYWORDS:

PTSD; Post-traumatic stress symptoms; VETSA; attachment; stress; veterans

PMID:
24636844
PMCID:
PMC4138283
DOI:
10.1016/j.jagp.2014.02.003
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center