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Home Study: Attachment, Self-Esteem and Subjective Well-Being Among Survivors of

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Attachment, Self-Esteem and Subjective Well-Being Among Survivors of Childhood Sexual Trauma

Emily L. Barnum and Kristin M. Perrone-McGovern

The current study is a quantitative exploration of the relationships between attachment security, childhood sexual trauma, sexual self-esteem, and subjective well-being. It was predicted that higher levels of secure attachment, lower presence of childhood sexual trauma and higher levels of sexual self-esteem would contribute to higher levels of subjective well-being. Participants were 213 undergraduate students at a Midwestern university. Theories of attachment (Bowlby, 1973) and well-being (Lent, 2004) provided a framework to guide the hypotheses of the present study. We hypothesized that higher attachment security would be related to higher sexual self-esteem and higher subjective well-being, and that participants who scored higher on a scale measuring childhood sexual trauma would have lower sexual self-esteem and lower subjective well-being. It was found that high levels of attachment security and sexual self-esteem predicted high levels of subjective well-being, whereas presence of childhood sexual trauma predicted lower levels of sexual self-esteem. Results from hierarchical regression analyses fully supported the hypotheses of the present study. Future research should analyze possible coping mechanisms that may contribute to subjective well-being restoration as well as coping efficacy.

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