Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 36, Issue 1, pp 51–60 | Cite as

Attachment style and coping in relation to posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms among adults living with HIV/AIDS

  • Cheryl Gore-FeltonEmail author
  • Karni Ginzburg
  • Maggie Chartier
  • William Gardner
  • Jessica Agnew-Blais
  • Elizabeth McGarvey
  • Elizabeth Weiss
  • Cheryl Koopman


Research indicates that a significant proportion of people living with HIV/AIDS report symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Moreover, attachment style has been associated with psychological and behavioral outcomes among persons living with HIV/AIDS. Attachment style may influence the ability to cope with traumatic stress and affect PTSD symptoms. To examine the association between attachment style and coping with PTSD symptoms, we assessed 94 HIV-positive adults on self-report measures of posttraumatic stress, coping, and attachment style. In multiple regression analysis, avoidant attachment and emotion-focused coping were positively and significantly associated with greater PTSD symptomatology. Support was also found for the moderating effects of avoidant and insecure attachment styles on emotion-focused coping in relation to greater PTSD symptoms. Taken altogether, these results suggest that interventions that develop adaptive coping skills and focus on the underlying construct of attachment may be particularly effective in reducing trauma-related symptoms in adults living with HIV/AIDS.


HIV/AIDS Attachment PTSD Stress Trauma Coping 



We wish to acknowledge the contributions of Margaret Chesney, Xin-Hua Chen, Sue DiMiceli, Ron Durán, Michael Edell, Jason Flamm, Michele Gill, Peea Kim, Dennis Israelski, David Lewis, José Montoya, Kristen O’Shea, Jan Porter, Rachel Power, Andrew Zolopa, and the men and women living with HIV/AIDS who devoted their time to assist in this research. Also, this research was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Grant #MH54930 (PI, David Spiegel, M.D.). Preparation of this manuscript was supported, in part, by NIMH Grant #MH63643 (PI: Cheryl Gore-Felton, Ph.D.).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cheryl Gore-Felton
    • 1
    Email author
  • Karni Ginzburg
    • 2
  • Maggie Chartier
    • 3
  • William Gardner
    • 4
  • Jessica Agnew-Blais
    • 5
  • Elizabeth McGarvey
    • 6
  • Elizabeth Weiss
    • 4
  • Cheryl Koopman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University Medical CenterStanford University School of MedicineStanfordUSA
  2. 2.School of Social WorkTel Aviv UniversityTel AvivIsrael
  3. 3.University of CaliforniaSan FranciscoUSA
  4. 4.PGSP-Stanford Psy.D ConsortiumPacific Graduate School of PsychologyPalo AltoUSA
  5. 5.School of Public HealthHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA
  6. 6.Department of Public Health SciencesUniversity of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA

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