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Title: The implications of attachment style for outcomes in young people who self-harm
Author: Glazebrook, Katie
ISNI:       0000 0004 2738 5342
Awarding Body: University of Nottingham
Current Institution: University of Nottingham
Date of Award: 2012
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Attachment theory describes the importance of the child’s early relationship with the caregiver and insecure attachment has been identified as a risk factor for adolescent self-harm. Research presented in this thesis aims to further our understanding of this relationship by firstly exploring whether attachment impacts on self-harm via its effect on coping, secondly examining how peer attachment styles relate to self-harm and finally establishing what role attachment has in the repetition of self-harm and other related outcomes. Study 1, an online survey of 314 undergraduate students,revealed that attachment has an indirect effect onself-harm through coping. Higher quality of attachment was association with greater reliance on problem-focused (adaptive) coping, which in turn was associated with a decreased risk of having self-harmed. Furthermore, poorer paternal attachmentwas associated withlower appraisal of problem-solving skills, which in turn was associated with an increased risk of having self-harmed. Study 2 prospectively examined self-reported peer attachment as a risk factor for self-harm over 6-months amongst adolescents (n= 4508) in school years 8-11. Findings indicated that insecure attachment at baseline significantly predicted self-harm at follow-up, even after adjusting for baseline covariates (school year, gender, previous self-harm and levels of anxiety and depression). Lastly, study 3 hypothesised that insecure attachment would be associated with poorer outcomes over 6-months amongst adolescents aged 12-17 years who had self-harmed and been referred to Specialist CAMHS. Attachment styles were classified using the Child Attachment Interview: a validated assessment for young people. Compared to secure adolescents, those with insecure maternal attachment were more likely to repeat self-harm and showed less improvement in problem-solving. There were no differences between the groups in concordance with therapy. These findings provide novel insights into the relationship between attachment and self-harm and highlight the importance of considering attachment when planning treatment and assessing the risk of future self-harm.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: RC 321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry ; BF Psychology ; RJ Pediatrics