The Role of Attachment in the Relationship between Childhood Maltreatment and Adult Substance Abuse

Hannah Rose Wertz, Fordham University

Abstract

This research study aimed to contribute to knowledge about the mechanisms by which substance use disorders develop. A cross-sectional design was utilized to examine whether attachment status mediates the relationship between childhood maltreatment and adult substance abuse. First, it was hypothesized that childhood maltreatment would be a significant predictor of insecure attachment. Second, it was hypothesized that childhood maltreatment and insecure attachment would each be significant independent predictors of problematic drug and alcohol abuse. Finally, it was hypothesized that if a relationship between childhood maltreatment and drug and alcohol abuse were to be observed, that insecure attachment status would at least partially mediate this relationship. A total of 193 participants completed the survey and were included in data analysis. Regression data indicated that childhood maltreatment and attachment security were both independent predictors of alcohol abuse and drug abuse. However, childhood maltreatment was no longer a significant predictor of drug or alcohol abuse once attachment security was entered into the model. Mediation analyses were also conducted using ordinary least squares path analysis. Attachment security was found to be a significant mediator of the association between childhood maltreatment and adult drug abuse, as well as childhood maltreatment and alcohol abuse.

Subject Area

Social psychology|Psychology|Clinical psychology

Recommended Citation

Wertz, Hannah Rose, "The Role of Attachment in the Relationship between Childhood Maltreatment and Adult Substance Abuse" (2019). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI13881428.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI13881428

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