Adolescents’ Dissociative Experiences: the Moderating Role of Type of Trauma and Attachment Style

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This cross-sectional study evaluated the selfreported
attachment style of 239 Swedish adolescents (ages
13 to 20) and investigated the relation between dissociation,
attachment, and potentially traumatic events (PTEs). We had
hypothesized that specific PTEs, including family-related
emotional and physical abuse, sexual abuse, and emotional
abuse by non-relatives such as bullying, would interact with
insecure attachment styles leading to higher levels of dissociation.
Results show that insecure attachment styles predicted
dissociative experiences (DE) independently of PTE exposure.
Dissociative experiences related more strongly to PTE
exposure when the adolescent had an anxious attachment
style. Our results also suggest that higher rates of DE are
related to an interaction between insecure attachment styles
and the experience of verbal harassment and bullying, mainly
by peers in school. We conclude that the relation between
trauma and dissociation is complex, with both type of trauma
and attachment style interacting with dissociative phenomena.


External organisations
  • Karolinska Institutet
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Applied Psychology


  • Trauma , Bullying, Dissociation, Emotional abuse, Attachment, Adolescence
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341-351
JournalJournal of Child & Adolescent Trauma
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Dec 10
Publication categoryResearch