Interpersonal trauma, attachment insecurity and anxiety in an inpatient psychiatric population

Anika Wiltgen, Consuelo Arbona, Leslie Frankel, B. Christopher Frueh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Current research suggests that interpersonal trauma has an impact on insecure attachment and anxiety. Some research further suggests that attachment may play a mediating role between traumatic events and psychopathology. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between the experience of interpersonal trauma, attachment anxiety, attachment avoidance and clinical anxiety severity among adult psychiatric inpatients who reported having experienced interpersonal trauma after the age of 16. It was hypothesized that attachment anxiety and attachment avoidance would mediate the relationship between interpersonal trauma and clinical anxiety level. This study used archival data on 414 adult psychiatric inpatients in a large city in the Southwest U.S. Results suggest that interpersonal trauma was correlated to attachment avoidance but not to attachment anxiety and that attachment avoidance partially mediated the relation of interpersonal trauma to anxiety. The attachment framework appositely explains how a negative model of other contributes to the relation between experiences of interpersonal trauma and anxiety in adulthood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)82-87
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Anxiety Disorders
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015


  • Adult inpatients
  • Anxiety
  • Attachment
  • Interpersonal trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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