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Insecure attachment moderates women's adjustment to inflammatory bowel disease severity

Gick, M.L.; Sirois, F.M.

Rehabilitation Psychology 55(2): 170-179

2010


ISSN/ISBN: 1939-1544
PMID: 20496971
DOI: 10.1037/a0019358
Accession: 053881488

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Insecure attachment was explored as a moderator of the relationship between disease severity and psychosocial variables in a study of adjustment in women with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Participants were 218 women recruited through notices placed in the community, in gastroenterologists' offices, and through online postings to support groups and message boards specifically for people with Crohn's disease, colitis, or IBD in general. Participants completed a mail-in or online survey assessing severity and frequency of symptoms, attachment style (separated into anxious and avoidant subscales), perceived social support, negative affect, and efficacy of coping with IBD. Anxious and avoidant attachment styles were correlated positively with disease severity and negative affect and negatively with perceived social support and coping efficacy. Hierarchical regressions indicated that disease severity was most strongly associated with negative affect for high avoidant attachment, as compared with moderate and low avoidant attachment. Disease activity was inversely related to perceived social support and coping efficacy for high and moderate, but not low, anxious attachment. Our study indicates that attachment moderates associations between disease severity in women with different kinds of IBD and psychological indicators of adjustment. Limitations and relationship to previous research on attachment and health are discussed.

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