Attachment Anxiety as a Risk Factor for Subsequent Intimate Partner Violence Victimization: A 6-Month Prospective Study Among College Women.

David A. Sandberg, Christine E. Valdez, Jessica L. Engle, Ekta Menghrajani

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Recent research suggests that individuals with attachment difficulties are at increased risk for experiencing intimate partner violence (IPV) victimization. However, most studies conducted on this topic have been cross-sectional, leaving it unclear whether attachment difficulties actually precede this type of violence. The current 6-month prospective study examined the relation between adult attachment and subsequent IPV victimization in a sample of 133 college women. At Time 1, participants completed the Experiences in Close Relationships (ECR) questionnaire to assess the two underlying orthogonal dimensions of adult attachment (anxiety and avoidance) and the Traumatic Life Events Questionnaire (TLEQ) to assess prior exposure to interpersonal traumatic events. At follow-up, participants completed a modified version of the Revised Conflict Tactics Scale (CTS-2) to assess IPV victimization. Results indicated that attachment anxiety was associated with an increased risk for experiencing physical assault during the 6-month follow-up period, even after statistically adjusting for prior interpersonal trauma. In contrast, attachment avoidance was unrelated to subsequent IPV victimization.
Original languageAmerican English
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
StatePublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • attachment
  • intimate partner violence
  • interpersonal violence
  • relationship violence


  • Psychiatry
  • Psychology

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