The Mediating Role of Insecure Attachment Styles between Early Experienced Violence and Marital Adjustment in Women

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Psychology, Faculty of psychology, Karaj Branch, Islamic Azad University, Karaj, Iran

2 Department of Psychology of Exceptional Children, Faculty of Exceptional Children, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran

3 Department of Psychology, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Allameh Tabataba'i University, Tehran, Iran


Introduction: The purpose of this research was to determine the mediating role of insecure attachment styles between early experienced violence and marital adjustment in married women.
Method: This research was a descriptive-correlational study, in which a structural equation modeling was used to analyze a conceptual model. The statistical population of the study included all the married women referring to counseling centers in Tehran in 2017. The sample size according to the Myers et al. consisted of 206 participants who were selected by accidental sampling method. The data collection tools included measures of conflict tactics scales, dyadic adjustment and attachment styles.
Results: Fit indices represented fitness of model with collected data. On the whole, the anxiety and avoidance and early experienced violence were able to explain marital adjustment. Also, the results showed that the direct and indirect effect of early experienced violence on marital adjustment is negative and significant (p<0.05).
Conclusion: It can be concluded that the early relationship within the family environment supports a certain attachment style and the effects of the avoidant insecure and ambivalent insecure styles affect the interpersonal relations of the couples in adulthood. As attachment styles are contributory to marital adjustment, counselors can build a couple therapy approach to have an effective role in modifying the attachment styles of couples and solve their conflicts both before and after marriage.


  1. References

    1. Ozden MS, Celen N. The Relationship between Inherent and Acquired Characteristics of Human Development with Marital Adjustment. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences. 2014;140:48-56.
    2. Spanier GB. Measuring Dyadic Adjustment: New Scales for Assessing the Quality of Marriage and Similar Dyads. Journal of Marriage and Family. 1976;38(1):15-28.
    3. Sabatelli RM. Measurement Issues in Marital Research: A Review and Critique of Contemporary Survey Instruments. Journal of Marriage and Family. 1988;50(4):891-915.
    4. Zarnaghash M, Zarnaghash M, Shahni R. The Influence of Family Therapy on Marital Conflicts. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences. 2013;84:1838-44.
    5. South SC, Krueger RF. Marital satisfaction and physical health: evidence for an orchid effect. Psychological science. 2013;24(3):373-8.
    6. Özgüç S, Tanrıverdi D. Relations Between Depression Level and Conflict Resolution Styles, Marital Adjustments of Patients With Major Depression and Their Spouses. Archives of Psychiatric Nursing. 2018;32(3):337-42.
    7. South SC. Marital Dysfunction. In: Ramachandran VS, editor. Encyclopedia of Human Behavior (Second Edition). San Diego: Academic Press; 2012. p. 557-63.
    8. Özmen O, Atik G. Attachment styles and marital adjustment of Turkish married individuals. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences. 2010;5:367-71.
    9. Shahar-Maharik T, Oppenheim D. Attachment. In: Friedman HS, editor. Encyclopedia of Mental Health (Second Edition). Oxford: Academic Press; 2016. p. 105-15.
    10. Hazan C, Shaver P. Romantic love conceptualized as an attachment process. Journal of personality and social psychology. 1987;52(3):511-24.
    11. Collins NL, Read SJ. Adult attachment, working models, and relationship quality in dating couples. Journal of personality and social psychology. 1990;58(4):644-63.
    12. Tiwari A, Gonzalez A. Biological alterations affecting risk of adult psychopathology following childhood trauma: A review of sex differences. Clinical Psychology Review. 2018;66:69-79.
    13. Jaworska-Andryszewska P, Rybakowski JK. Childhood trauma in mood disorders: Neurobiological mechanisms and implications for treatment. Pharmacological Reports. 2019;71(1):112-20.
    14. Muraru AA, Turliuc MN. Family-of-origin, romantic attachment, and marital adjustment: a path analysis model. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences. 2012;33:90-4.
    15. Hocking EC, Simons RM, Surette RJ. Attachment style as a mediator between childhood maltreatment and the experience of betrayal trauma as an adult. Child Abuse & Neglect. 2016;52:94-101.
    16. Cooke JE, Racine N, Plamondon A, Tough S, Madigan S. Maternal adverse childhood experiences, attachment style, and mental health: Pathways of transmission to child behavior problems. Child Abuse & Neglect. 2019;93:27-37.
    17. Mikulincer M, Shaver PR. Attachment in adulthood: structure dynamics, and change. New York: Guilford Press; 2007.
    18. Nowakowski-Sims E, Rowe A. The relationship between childhood adversity, attachment, and internalizing behaviors in a diversion program for child-to-mother violence. Child Abuse Negl. 2017;72:266-75.
    19. Corcoran M, McNulty M. Examining the role of attachment in the relationship between childhood adversity, psychological distress and subjective well-being. Child Abuse Negl. 2018;76:297-309.
    20. Donnelly R, Umberson D, Kroeger RA. Childhood Adversity, Daily Stress, and Marital Strain in Same-Sex and Different-Sex Marriages. Journal of family issues. 2018;39(7):2085-106.
    21. Sommer J, Hinsberger M, Elbert T, Holtzhausen L, Kaminer D, Seedat S, et al. The interplay between trauma, substance abuse and appetitive aggression and its relation to criminal activity among high-risk males in South Africa. Addictive behaviors. 2017;64:29-34.
    22. Godbout N, Dutton DG, Lussier Y, Sabourin S. Early exposure to violence, domestic violence, attachment representations, and marital adjustment. Personal Relationships. 2009;16(3):365-84.
    23. Marchand-Reilly JF. Attachment Anxiety, Conflict Behaviors, and Depressive Symptoms in Emerging Adults’ Romantic Relationships. Journal of Adult Development. 2012;19(3):170-6.
    24. Kuijpers KF, van der Knaap LM, Winkel FW. Risk of Revictimization of Intimate Partner Violence: The Role of Attachment, Anger and Violent Behavior of the Victim. Journal of family violence. 2012;27(1):33-44.
    25. Beck LA, Pietromonaco PR, DeBuse CJ, Powers SI, Sayer AG. Spouses' attachment pairings predict neuroendocrine, behavioral, and psychological responses to marital conflict. Journal of personality and social psychology. 2013;105(3):388-424.
    26. Hosseini N, Navabinejad S, Kiamanesh A. Comparing the Effectiveness of Olson Circumplex Model and Walsh Integrated Approach on Marital Resilience and Conflicts of Couple. International Journal of Behavioral Sciences. 2016;10(2):123-8.
    27. Zeanah CH, Gleason MM. Annual research review: Attachment disorders in early childhood--clinical presentation, causes, correlates, and treatment. Journal of child psychology and psychiatry, and allied disciplines. 2015;56(3):207-22.
    28. Meyers LS, Gamst G, Guarino AJ. Applied multivariate research: design and interpretation 3rd ed: Sage publication; 2016.
    29. Cuenca Montesino ML, Grana Gomez JL, Pena Fernandez ME, Andreu Rodriguez JM. Psychometric properties of the Dyadic Adjustment Scale (DAS) in a community sample of couples. Psicothema. 2013;25(4):536-41.
    30. Straus MA, Hamby SL, Finkelhor D, Moore DW, Runyan D. Identification of Child Maltreatment With the Parent-Child Conflict Tactics Scales: Development and Psychometric Data for a National Sample of American Parents. Child Abuse & Neglect. 1998;22(4):249-70.
    31. Hossein Panahi N, Goodarzi M. The efficacy of teaching components of choice theory on parent-child conflicts of female students. Shenakht Journal of Psychology and Psychiatry. 2018;5(2):43-52.
    32. Brennan KA, Clark CL, Shaver PR. Self-report measurement of adult attachment: An integrative overview. New York, NY, US: Guilford 1998.
    33. Pakdaman S. The relationship between community attachment and seeking in adolescents: Tehran University; 2002.
    34. Toghroli Pour Grighani M, Mousavi Nasab SMH, Rahmati A. Examination of a Causal Model of Family-of-Origin's Health, Attachment Styles, and Marital Commitment with the Mediating Role of Self- Differentiation. International Journal of Behavioral Sciences. 2018;12(3):91-5.
    35. Frewen P, Brown M, DePierro J, D'Andrea W, Schore A. Assessing the family dynamics of childhood maltreatment history with the Childhood Attachment and Relational Trauma Screen (CARTS). European journal of psychotraumatology. 2015;6:27792.
    36. Riva Crugnola C, Ierardi E, Bottini M, Verganti C, Albizzati A. Childhood experiences of maltreatment, reflective functioning and attachment in adolescent and young adult mothers: Effects on mother-infant interaction and emotion regulation. Child Abuse & Neglect. 2019;93:277-90.
    37. San Cristobal P, Santelices MP, Miranda Fuenzalida DA. Manifestation of Trauma: The Effect of Early Traumatic Experiences and Adult Attachment on Parental Reflective Functioning. Frontiers in psychology. 2017;8:449.
    38. Simonelli A, Sacchi C, Cantoni L, Brown M, Frewen P. Italian translation and cross-cultural comparison with the Childhood Attachment and Relational Trauma Screen (CARTS). European journal of psychotraumatology. 2017;8(1):1375839.
    39. Schierholz A, Kruger A, Barenbrugge J, Ehring T. What mediates the link between childhood maltreatment and depression? The role of emotion dysregulation, attachment, and attributional style. European journal of psychotraumatology. 2016;7:32652.
    40. Johnson SM. Becoming an emotionally focused couple therapist Taylor & Francis Group; 2005.
    41. Brubacher LL. Stepping into emotionally focused couple therapy: Key ingredients of change: Karnac Books Ltd; 2018.
    42. Mills-Koonce WR, Cao H, Heilbron N, Cox MJ. Marital Relationship and Early Development☆. Reference Module in Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Psychology: Elsevier; 2018.
    43. Kong SS, Kang DR, Oh MJ, Kim NH. Attachment insecurity as a mediator of the relationship between childhood trauma and adult dissociation. Journal of trauma & dissociation : the official journal of the International Society for the Study of Dissociation (ISSD). 2018;19(2):214-31.
    44. Simpson JA, Rholes WS. Chapter six - Adult Attachment Orientations, Stress, and Romantic Relationships. In: Devine P, Plant A, editors. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology. 45: Academic Press; 2012. p. 279-328.

         45. Borelli JL, Peng X, Hong K, Froidevaux NM, Sbarra DA. Accuracy and confidence in perceptions of             targets’ attachment to former partners: Do judges vary as a function of individual differences in               attachment orientation? Journal of Research in Personality. 2019;79:1-12.