Author(s): Solomon Z, Dekel R, Mikulincer M, Solomon Z, Dekel R, Mikulincer M
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Victims of war captivity sometimes suffer from complex post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a unique form of PTSD that entails various alterations in personality. These alterations may involve changes in attachment orientation. METHOD: The sample comprised two groups of veterans from the 1973 Yom Kippur War: 103 ex-prisoners of war (ex-POWs) and 106 comparable control veterans. They were assessed at two points in time, 18 years and 30 years after the war. RESULTS: Ex-POWs suffered from more post-traumatic symptoms than controls at both measurements points and these symptoms increased only among ex-POWs from Time 1 to Time 2. In addition, both attachment anxiety and attachment avoidance increased with time among ex-POWs, whereas they decreased slightly or remained stable among controls. Finally, the increases in attachment anxiety and avoidance were positively associated with the increase in post-traumatic symptoms among both study groups. Further analyses indicated that early PTSD symptoms predicted later attachment better than early attachment predicted later PTSD symptoms. CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that: (1) complex traumas are implicated in attachment orientations and PTSD symptoms even many years after captivity; (2) there is an increase in attachment insecurities (anxiety, avoidance) and an increase in PTSD symptoms decades after the captivity; (3) and post-traumatic stress symptoms predict attachment orientations better than attachment orientations predict an increase in PTSD symptoms.
This article was published in Psychol Med
and referenced in Journal of Psychiatry