The purpose of this research study was to investigate the directional relationship between adults' attachment styles and perceived impact of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) with their experience of posttraumatic growth. This investigation tested the theoretical model that adults' (N = 292) attachment styles as measured by the Experiences in Close Relationships-Short Form ([ECR-S] Wei et al., 2007) and impact of childhood sexual abuse as measured by the Impact of Event Scale-revised ([IES-R] Weiss & Marmar, 1997) contributed to their experience of posttraumatic growth as measured by the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory ([PTGI] Tedeschi & Calhoun, 1996). Specifically, this investigation tested the hypothesized directional relationship that adult survivors of CSA scoring in the insecure attachment range (i.e., avoidant or anxious) with higher levels of trauma would have lower levels of posttraumatic growth. In addition, this investigation examined the differences in relationship between adults' attachment styles, perceived impact of CSA, and posttraumatic growth based on their reported demographic information (e.g., age, race, and gender). The results of the structural equation model (SEM) analyses identified that trauma experienced by adult survivors of CSA contributed to 39% of the variance in the attachment style (p < .000; standardized coefficient = .63), and the mediating effect of attachment style contributed to 8% of the variance in the presence of PTG (p < .05; standardized coefficient -.31), while trauma showed to have no significant influence on the presence of PTG in this sample (p = .756). Implications of the findings from the study include insight (a) for counselors to better understand the experiences of adult survivors of CSA and areas to address in treatment; (b) for counselor educators to better prepare future counselors to work with adult survivors of CSA; and (c) insight into the instrument development of the ECR-S, IES-R, and PTGI.
Hagedorn, W. Bryce
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Education and Human Performance
Education; Counselor Education
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Nelson, Kristina, "The Contribution of Adult Attachment Style on the Experience of Posttraumatic Growth Among Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse" (2016). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 5430.