Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 32, Issue 4, pp 399–407 | Cite as

The Impact of Child Abuse Severity on Adult Attachment Anxiety and Avoidance in College Women: The Role of Emotion Dysregulation

  • Hannah C. Espeleta
  • Sarah Palasciano-Barton
  • Terri L. Messman-MooreEmail author
Original Article


Recent evidence suggests a significant and unique effect of child abuse experiences on attachment-related anxiety and avoidance in adult romantic relationships, although mechanisms underlying this relationship have yet to be identified. The current study examined the relation between three forms of child abuse (sexual, physical, and psychological) severity, emotion dysregulation, and attachment-related anxiety and avoidance among 830 college women. Results indicated that emotion dysregulation significantly mediated the relationship between child abuse severity and attachment-related anxiety and avoidance. Future directions for research and implications for intervention are discussed.


Child abuse severity Emotion dysregulation Attachment-related anxiety Attachment-related avoidance 



Dr. Messman-Moore would like to acknowledge the support of the O’Toole Family whose endowment provided support for this research.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hannah C. Espeleta
    • 1
    • 2
  • Sarah Palasciano-Barton
    • 1
  • Terri L. Messman-Moore
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyMiami UniversityOxfordUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyOklahoma State UniversityStillwaterUSA

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