Attachment, self-esteem and subjective well-being among survivors of childhood sexual trauma

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Barnum, Emily L.
Perrone, Kristin M.
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Thesis (Ph. D.)
Department of Counseling Psychology and Guidance Services
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The current study is a quantitative exploration of the relationships between attachment security, childhood sexual trauma, sexual self-esteem, and subjective well-being. Participants included 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. I 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. Results from hierarchical regression analyses fully supported the hypotheses of the present study. Specifically, it was found that high levels of attachment security and sexual self-esteem contributed to high levels of subjective well-being, whereas presence of childhood sexual trauma contributed to lower levels of sexual self-esteem. Results provided support for Attachment Theory (Bowlby, 1973) and the Model of Restorative of Well-Being (Lent, 2004). Practice implications of the findings and directions for future research are discussed.