Loneliness and trauma: A causal model exploring attachment, loneliness, and cognition among a clinical and comparison group




Wells, Courtney Conway

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The purpose of this study was to explore the interrelationship among the constructs of trauma, attachment, loneliness, and cognition. Loneliness, trauma, and insecure attachment have all been shown to be predictive of various negative social, psychological and health consequences. However, these three constructs have not been studied in conjunction with each other. Each construct demonstrates unique cognitive patterns, which can be traced through language. A mixed methods research design was employed, engaging a clinical and comparison group. The current study utilized 110 participants, 62 individuals in the clinical, inpatient trauma group and 48 individuals in the comparison, college sample. Participants completed three inventories assessing degree of insecure attachment, loneliness, and psychological distress. Individuals also participated in an interview that was transcribed and then analyzed using the Linguistic Inquiry Word Count program. A causal model for both the clinical and comparison groups was tested utilizing path analyses. The clinical group had higher scores than the comparison group on measures of loneliness, psychological distress, and insecure attachment. The linguistic analysis revealed the clinical group used more singular, first person pronouns and negative emotion words. The path analyses revealed differences between the clinical and comparison groups; the only relationship that remained significant between groups was attachment s direct effect on loneliness.



Psychology, Attachment, Cognition, Loneliness, Trauma