Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology (PhD)
First Advisor/Committee Member
Thane Erickson, Ph.D.
Second Advisor/Committee Member
Keyne Law, Ph.D.
Third Advisor/Committee Member
Jacob Bentley, Ph.D., ABPP
Dissociation is an involuntary stress response that has been linked to negative cognitive, emotional, and physical symptoms. Interpersonal stressors are associated with negative mental and physical health outcomes above and beyond stressors that are not interpersonal in nature, and therefore may be relevant to dissociation. Additionally, attachment anxiety or avoidance (i.e., insecure attachment) may put individuals at risk for dissociation in response to social stressors and might moderate their responses. However, extant studies have yet to investigate the relationship between daily interpersonal stressors and dissociation in the context of attachment anxiety and avoidance longitudinally, despite evidence that dissociation and attachment anxiety and avoidance can fluctuate across time and contexts. The current study assessed whether the relationship between interpersonal stressors and dissociation varies as a function of both trait attachment and attachment states within a given social interaction. Participants (N = 128) completed surveys online, including a one-time baseline measure assessing trait-like attachment dimensions and daily diary responses over seven days (M = 11; n = 2137) examining perceived interpersonal stressors, state attachment measures, and daily dissociation. As hypothesized, in multi-level modeling (MLM) analyses, interpersonal stressors positively predicted dissociative experiences in daily life, as did baseline trait attachment avoidance and state attachment anxiety. However, state attachment avoidance effects and two- and three-way interactions between attachment dimensions and interpersonal stressors occurred but not in the expected direction, suggesting a complex picture. These findings provide support for individual fluctuations in dissociative experiences in response to daily stressors and indicate attachment anxiety and avoidance as important factors in this relationship.
Verdi, Erin, "An Examination of the Role of Interpersonal Stressors and Attachment Style in Dissociative Experiences" (2021). Clinical Psychology Dissertations. 75.