Title

The effect of combat experience on adult attachment: A stepfamily perspective

Keywords

Social work, military social work, attachment, trauma, theory

Abstract

bstract

Summary

Social science researchers have long examined the impact of combat experience on individual and family outcomes, but doing so within a stepfamily context has yet to be done. Drawn from a sample of young adults living in the USA, this study examines the effect of emerging adults’ combat experience on the relationship between their childhood attachment with a biological parent in a stepfamily setting and their adult attachment style with a romantic partner.

Findings

Results of multiple regression analysis indicate that a secure parent–child relationship within a stepfamily reduces the likelihood of exhibiting more characteristics of avoidant attachment style in adulthood. However, when interacted with combat experience, a secure parent-child relationship significantly increases the likelihood of exhibiting more characteristics of avoidant attachment in adulthood.

Applications

Results from this study advance previous research findings on the effect of wartime experience on individual outcomes by examining postcombat deployment attachment styles for individuals who were raised in a stepfamily context. Incorporating these findings into social work research and practice can help clinicians more effectively prevent service members’ maladaptive postdeployment attachment styles and treat individuals and families affected by them.

Original Publication Citation

Turner, R.D., Wood, D.S., Parks, D.A., & Shafer, K. (2016). The effect of combat experience on adult attachment: A step-family perspective. Journal of Social Work, 1-16.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date

2016-06-20

Publisher

Journal of Social Work

Language

English

College

Family, Home, and Social Sciences

Department

Social Work

University Standing at Time of Publication

Assistant Professor

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