Attachment style in adult male substance abusers: psychiatric symptomatology, treatment compliance, and life adjustment



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Texas Tech University


Historically, attachment theory has been used to explain differences in the way children "bond" with their primary caregiver. This bond becomes a lens through which a child looks to interact in relationships throughout his/her life. This dissertation addresses adult attachment style in adult male substance abusers and focuses on four areas affected by attachment style: the effect of attachment style on areas of life adjustment, the relation between attachment style and psychopathology, the relation between attachment style and psychopathology treatment outcomes, and the occurrence of various attachment styles in this diverse chemically dependent population. Measures included MMPI-2 clinical and personality disorder scale scores, scores on the three dimension of the Adult Attachment Scale (closeness, dependency, anxiety), staff ratings of treatment adjustment and predicted post-treatment adjustment, and a rating of prior life adjustment. The results suggest that attachment style does help explain differences in life adjustment above and beyond that explained by a composite MMPI-2 scale score (Scale A-Anxiety and Scale 7-Psychasthenia). The results further suggest that those with an insecure attachment style report fewer problems and psychological symptoms. Lastly, higher rates of avoidant attachment styles (46%) and lower rates of preoccupied attachment styles (11%) were found in this chemically dependent sample than are found in nonclinical samples. Implications for treatment and directions for future research are addressed.