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Intimate Partner Violence: Contribution of Attachment Style and Dissociation

Grant Winners

  • Steven Gold, Ph.D.
  • Vincent B. Van Hasselt, Ph.D.
  • VerĂ³nica F. Juanes Vaquero, MS


  • Karen Grosby, Ed.D.


Award Winners

Despite the growing number of studies offering a global overview of the extent and prevalence of violence against women as well as its physical and mental health consequences, there is still a need for research identifying the risk factors for intimate partner violence (IPV) in order to develop effective prevention and intervention programs. The aim of this study is to test the role of dissociation and attachment style as a mediator between family environmental characteristics and IPV. Female IPV victims who grew in a dysfunctional family are proposed to develop an insecure attachment and higher levels of dissociation. These characteristics would predict a higher number of abusive romantic relationships, severity of abuse, and length of abuse. Participants will consist of between 60 and 90 women psychotherapy clients with a past history of IPV. Trained doctoral students in Clinical Psychology will administer a research packet containing instruments assessing dissociation levels, history of victimization, family environment, mental health, and attachment style at a community clinic. Data analysis will be conducted through a path analysis. This study will fill an important gap in the existing literature by examining whether dissociation, attachment style, and family environment characteristics may contribute to women's vulnerability to becoming involved in abusive romantic relationships and maintaining such relationships. Our results will aid at developing and evaluating effective prevention programs at community and organizational level.

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