Early life maltreatment but not lifetime depression predicts insecure attachment in women

Publikation: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftForschungsartikelBeigetragenBegutachtung


  • Anna Lena Zietlow - , Center for Psychosocial Medicine, Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg (Autor:in)
  • Nora Nonnenmacher - , Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg (Autor:in)
  • Corinna Reck - , Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU) (Autor:in)
  • Mitho Mueller - , Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU) (Autor:in)
  • Sabine C. Herpertz - , Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg (Autor:in)
  • Corinne Neukel - , Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg (Autor:in)
  • Anna Fuchs - , Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg (Autor:in)
  • Felix Bermpohl - , Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin (Autor:in)
  • Daniel Fuehrer - , Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin (Autor:in)
  • Dorothea Kluczniok - , Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin (Autor:in)
  • Catherine Hindi Attar - , Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin (Autor:in)
  • Charlotte Jaite - , Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin (Autor:in)
  • Katja Dittrich - , Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin (Autor:in)
  • Katja Boedeker - , Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin (Autor:in)


Early life maltreatment (ELM) poses a risk for the development of insecure attachment and depression over the life span, depending on the type of maltreatment (physical, sexual, emotional, neglect) and its severity. The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of ELM and lifetime depression on adult insecure attachment in a female sample (N = 188), consisting of n = 81 women with ELM and n = 107 without ELM. Women with ELM reported significantly higher scores on insecure attachment than women without ELM. A significant interaction effect for ELM × lifetime depression was found: Contradictory to the hypotheses, women with ELM but without lifetime depression scored highest on avoidant attachment, differing significantly from women with ELM and lifetime depression, even though the severity of ELM was higher among women with ELM and lifetime depression and they experienced significantly more severe neglect and sexual abuse, but not physical or emotional abuse. Regression analyses revealed that ELM was the only predictor of avoidant attachment, explaining 15.5% of the variance. Results underline the strong influence of ELM on adult attachment and are of special importance for prevention and intervention programs.


Seiten (von - bis)477-486
FachzeitschriftArchives of women's mental health
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 1 Aug. 2017
Extern publiziertJa

Externe IDs

PubMed 28612177
ORCID /0000-0002-7278-5711/work/142233571


Ziele für nachhaltige Entwicklung


  • Adult attachment, Early life maltreatment, Insecure attachment, Lifetime depression