Understanding posttrauma reactions within an attachment theory framework

Emma M. Marshall, Patricia A. Frazier

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The purpose of this paper is to review recent research on posttrauma reactions (i.e., posttraumatic stress disorder [PTSD] symptoms and self-reported posttraumatic growth [PTG]) using attachment theory as a framework. Attachment orientations are significantly related to PTSD symptoms: insecure attachment orientations (particularly attachment anxiety) are positively associated with PTSD symptoms whereas attachment security is negatively associated with PTSD symptoms. Although associations appear to be reciprocal, research typically focuses on insecure attachment orientations predicting PTSD symptoms and the possible mechanisms of those relations, particularly a lack of social support. Some trauma characteristics (e.g., trauma severity) also appear to moderate the association between attachment and PTSD symptoms. Research on attachment orientations and PTG, however, has yielded mixed results. More rigorous methods are needed to better understand the role of attachment orientations in actual growth from pre to post-trauma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-171
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent Opinion in Psychology
StatePublished - Feb 2019

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Review


Dive into the research topics of 'Understanding posttrauma reactions within an attachment theory framework'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this