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  • A_systematic_review_of_adult_attachment_and_social_anxiety

    Rights statement: This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Affective Disorders. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Journal of Affective Disorders, 211, 2017 DOI: 10.1016/j.jad.2016.12.020

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A systematic review of adult attachment and social anxiety

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>15/03/2017
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Affective Disorders
Volume211
Number of pages16
Pages (from-to)44-59
Publication statusPublished
Early online date19/12/16
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Background
Attachment has been implicated in the development of social anxiety. Our aim was to synthesise the extant literature exploring the role of adult attachment in these disorders.

Method
Search terms relating to social anxiety and attachment were entered into MEDLINE, PsycINFO and Web of Science. Risk of bias of included studies was assessed using and adapted version of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality assessment tool. Eligible studies employed validated social anxiety and attachment assessments in adult clinical and analogue samples. The review included cross sectional, interventional and longitudinal research.

Results
Of the 30 identified studies, 28 showed a positive association between attachment insecurity and social anxiety. This association was particularly strong when considering attachment anxiety. Cognitive variables and evolutionary behaviours were identified as potential mediators, concordant with psychological theory.

Limitations
Due to a lack of longitudinal research, the direction of effect between attachment and social anxiety variables could not be inferred. There was substantial heterogeneity in the way that attachment was conceptualised and assessed across studies.

Conclusions
The literature indicates that attachment style is associated with social anxiety. Clinicians may wish to consider attachment theory when working clinically with this population. In the future, it may be useful to target the processes that mediate the relationship between attachment and social anxiety.

Bibliographic note

This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Affective Disorders. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Journal of Affective Disorders, 211, 2017 DOI: 10.1016/j.jad.2016.12.020