Document Type : Original Article
Department of Psychology, Faculty of Education and Psychology, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran
Introduction: The present study aimed to determine the mediating role of mentalization in the relationship between childhood trauma and attachment security in adulthood.
Method: The statistical population of this descriptive-correlational study involved all individuals aged 18-60 years who had experienced childhood trauma, and the sample included 290 people who were selected by the convenience sampling method. The data collection period was from July to September 2020 and was conducted online. The participants answered the Questionnaire of Experiences in Close Relationships, Child Abuse, and Mentalization (reflective functioning) online. In addition, the statistical method of Structural Equation Modeling was used.
Results: Findings indicated that the subscales of physical, sexual, emotional, and neglect (childhood trauma) had a significant negative relationship with the subscale of certainty in mentalization and a significant positive relationship with the subscale of uncertainty in mentalization. Physical, sexual, emotional, and negligence subscales indicated a significant positive relationship with attachment anxiety and attachment avoidance subscales. The mentalization certainty subscale had a significant negative relationship with the attachment avoidance and attachment anxiety subscales while the mentalization uncertainty subscale had a significant positive relationship with the attachment avoidance and attachment anxiety subscales.
Conclusion: The mediating role of mentalization between childhood trauma and attachment anxiety, and attachment avoidance were confirmed. In general, the results of this study supported the mediating role of mentalization in relation with childhood trauma and attachment security and indicated that a part of the dispersion related to attachment security in adulthood can be explained through childhood trauma mediated by mentalization. These findings can be used for designing preventive and therapeutic interventions for trauma and attachment problems by improving mentalization (reflective functioning).