Poster Title

Mental and Physical Health Predictors After Romantic Betrayal

Institution

Morehead State University

Abstract

Participants were 123 victims of romantic betrayal (55 males/68 females, mean age = 34.8 years) who volunteered to be in the study in exchange for monetary compenation. Each completed a questionnaire that asked participants to describe their worst experience as a victim of romantic betrayal, and to complete a widely used measure of adult attachment (Hazan & Shaver, 1987) and a checklist of mental/physical health symptoms experienced within the first month after betrayal. Participants were divided into three groups based on the attachment measure, yielding groups of avoidantly attached (those who feel very uncomfortable with intimacy and lack basic trust in others), anxious-ambivalently attached (those who are nervous about intimacy but seek it anyway to quell their doubts), and securely attached individuals (those who are comfortable with intimacy and trusting of their partners). Using a multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) technique, the three groups were compared to determine if attachment style was related to the number of mental and physical health symptoms reported by victims. Results indicated that securely attached individuals reported significantly fewer symptoms of major depression and serious anxiety reactions after betrayal, as well as fewer physical health symptoms, than those who were avoidantly attached. Implications for identification and treatment of individuals who are at risk for mental and physical health problems after betrayal will be discussed.

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Mental and Physical Health Predictors After Romantic Betrayal

Participants were 123 victims of romantic betrayal (55 males/68 females, mean age = 34.8 years) who volunteered to be in the study in exchange for monetary compenation. Each completed a questionnaire that asked participants to describe their worst experience as a victim of romantic betrayal, and to complete a widely used measure of adult attachment (Hazan & Shaver, 1987) and a checklist of mental/physical health symptoms experienced within the first month after betrayal. Participants were divided into three groups based on the attachment measure, yielding groups of avoidantly attached (those who feel very uncomfortable with intimacy and lack basic trust in others), anxious-ambivalently attached (those who are nervous about intimacy but seek it anyway to quell their doubts), and securely attached individuals (those who are comfortable with intimacy and trusting of their partners). Using a multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) technique, the three groups were compared to determine if attachment style was related to the number of mental and physical health symptoms reported by victims. Results indicated that securely attached individuals reported significantly fewer symptoms of major depression and serious anxiety reactions after betrayal, as well as fewer physical health symptoms, than those who were avoidantly attached. Implications for identification and treatment of individuals who are at risk for mental and physical health problems after betrayal will be discussed.