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Insecure adult attachment style is associated with elevated psychological symptoms in early adjustment to severe burn: A cross-sectional study

journal contribution
posted on 14.11.2021, 23:09 by Rachael Holt, Rachel Kornhaber, Julia Kwiet, Vanessa Rogers, Joanne Shaw, Jeremy Law, Marie-Therese Proctor, John Vandervord, Jeffrey Streimer, Denis Visentin, Michelle ClearyMichelle Cleary, Loyola McLean
Research into recovery and adjustment after burn injury has indicated a link between psychopathological symptoms including traumatic stress, distress, depression and anxiety, and worse psychosocial and physical outcomes. The severity of psychological symptoms does not always correlate with that of the burn injury, and symptoms can be ongoing in certain patients for extensive periods, leading to a need for early screening in burns patients for psychological vulnerabilities. One potential factor influencing recovery from the psychological impact of burn injury is adult attachment style, specifically secure and insecure attachment, as this describes how an individual organizes their stress regulation. This cross-sectional study measured: (a) attachment style (via the Relationship Questionnaire [RQ]): (b) negative psychological symptoms (via the Depression Anxiety and Stress Scale [DASS]); and, (c) post-traumatic symptoms (via the Davidson Trauma Scale [DTS]) in a cohort of burns patients (n = 104, 51 analysed) in a severe burns unit in Australia during the acute phase of their recovery. Secure attachment style was inversely related to psychopathological symptoms. Secure participants scored significantly lower scores on the DASS (M = 17.63, SD = 17.07) compared to self-rated insecure participants [(M = 42.38, SD = 34.69), p < .01] and on the DTS (M = 14.22, SD = 15.42) compared to insecure participants [(M = 40.54, SD = 35.72), p < .01]. Similar results were found in analyses controlling for covariates of gender, age and burn severity as potential confounders. This research suggests attachment style may play an important role in psychosocial recovery from severe burn injury.

History

Volume

45

Issue

6

Start Page

1359

End Page

1366

Number of Pages

8

eISSN

1879-1409

ISSN

0305-4179

Location

Netherlands

Publisher

Elsevier

Language

eng

Peer Reviewed

Yes

Open Access

No

Acceptance Date

03/03/2019

External Author Affiliations

The University of Sydney; Excelsia College, Sydney; University of Tasmania

Era Eligible

Yes

Medium

Print-Electronic

Journal

Burns