Attachment as a partial mediator of the relationship between emotional abuse and schizotypy

Karen Goodall, Robert W Rush, Lisa Grunwald, Stephen Darling, Niko Tiliopoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Developmental theories highlight the salience of attachment theory in explaining vulnerability towards psychosis. At the same time there is increasing recognition that psychosis is associated with childhood trauma variables. This study explored the interaction between attachment and several trauma variables in relation to schizotypy levels in a non-clinical sample. 283 non-clinical participants completed online measures of schizotypy, attachment, childhood abuse and neglect. When five types of abuse/neglect were entered into a linear regression analysis emotional abuse was the sole independent predictor of schizotypy. Age, attachment anxiety and avoidance were independent predictors after the effects of emotional abuse were controlled for. The overall model was significant, explaining 34% of the variation in schizotypy. Moderation analysis indicated that the effect of emotional abuse was not conditional upon attachment. Parallel mediation analysis indicated small but significant indirect effects of emotional abuse on schizotypy through attachment avoidance (13%) and attachment anxiety (8%). We conclude that emotional abuse contributes to vulnerability towards psychosis both directly and indirectly through attachment insecurity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)531-536
JournalPsychiatry Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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