Although attachment representation is considered to be disturbed in traumatized adolescents, it is not known whether this is specific for trauma, as comparative studies with other clinical groups are lacking. Therefore, attachment representation was studied by means of the Adult Attachment Interview in adolescents with Childhood Sexual Abuse (CSA) (N = 21), clinical depression (N = 28) and non-clinical controls (N = 28). Coherence of mind and unresolved loss or trauma, as well as the disorganized attachment classification differentiated the CSA group from the clinical depression group and controls, over and above age, IQ, and psychiatric symptomatology. In the current era of sustained criticism on criteria-based classification, this may well carry substantial clinical relevance. If attachment is a general risk or vulnerability factor underlying specific psychopathology, this may guide diagnostic assessment as well as treatment.

, , , , ,,
Attachment and Human Development
Department of Pedagogical Sciences

van Hoof, M.-J., van Lang, N., Speekenbrink, S., van IJzendoorn, R., & Vermeiren, R. R. J. M. (2015). Adult Attachment Interview differentiates adolescents with Childhood Sexual Abuse from those with clinical depression and non-clinical controls. Attachment and Human Development, 17(4), 354–375. doi:10.1080/14616734.2015.1050420