The impact of childhood sexual abuse of attachment as defined by the Adult Attachment interview

Toal, Erin F. (2014) The impact of childhood sexual abuse of attachment as defined by the Adult Attachment interview. D Clin Psy thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Background - Research suggests that individuals with complex mental health problems may experience problems expressing compassion to themselves and others. Difficult life experiences can lead to fears of compassion, which block such feelings and their expression. Expression of compassion can arise from self to others, others to self and self to self. Compassion is usually measured using self-report questionnaires. It has been suggested that interview based methods may be helpful for individuals with complex mental health problems who are fearful of compassion. Aims - The current study aimed to further develop a narrative based measure of compassion by explicitly exploring memories of compassion. All interviews were transcribed, anonymised and coded. Scores derived from the ‘Narrative Compassion Scale ‘NCS’ were compared with self-report measures of compassion, childhood trauma as well as attachment anxiety and avoidance. Design - A cross-sectional mixed methods design was used with a within subjects condition and two between subjects groups. Methods – A total of 27 participants gave their voluntary and informed consent to enter the study: 13 were diagnosed with Schizophrenia and 14 with Complex Trauma. All participants participated in an interview exploring their understanding of compassion as well as their memories of compassion linked to expressing compassion to others, from others to self and from self to self. Self-report measures of compassion, childhood trauma and attachment anxiety and avoidance were also completed. Results – Participants scored highest on compassion flowing from the self to others and lowest on compassion flowing from self to self, with compassion flowing from others to self situated in-between. There were no associations between the NCS and self-ratings of compassion, as well as between the NCS and levels of attachment anxiety and avoidance. There were also no associations between the NCS and self-ratings regarding fears of compassion, except for greater fears of compassion from others being significantly correlated with lower levels of compassionate understanding. Greater trauma was linked to higher levels of narrative coded compassion and a general trend indicated greater trauma was associated with lower self-reported compassion. Implications - Findings will help provide further insights into psychological processes that can be addressed within psychotherapy and facilitate exploration of compassion in complex mental health problems.

Item Type: Thesis (D Clin Psy)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Compassion, trauma, psychosis.
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Colleges/Schools: College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > Mental Health and Wellbeing
Supervisor's Name: Gumley, Professor Andrew
Date of Award: 2014
Depositing User: Miss Erin Toal
Unique ID: glathesis:2014-5147
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 14 Oct 2014 12:42
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2014 15:18

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