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Journal Article


dos Santos Mesquita C, da Costa Maia A. J. Interpers. Violence 2019; 34(15): 3252-3289.


University of Minho, Braga, Portugal.


(Copyright © 2019, SAGE Publishing)






A history of victimization has been linked to the latter development of emotional distress. However, not all victims develop emotional distress in response to victimization, emphasizing the need to identify mediators that can guide intervention, as well as moderators to more targeted preventive actions. Within a developmental psychology framework, we aimed to test two models: (a) the role of adult attachment as a mediator in the relationship between victimization and emotional distress, and (b) the role of household dysfunctions as moderators in the relationship between victimization and emotional distress, in psychiatric patients. Participants were 120 adult psychiatric patients, between ages 20 and 79 years (M = -47.22, SD = 13.102) that responded to questions assessing household dysfunction in the family of origin, victimization, and adult attachment.

RESULTS revealed that adult attachment was a significant mediator in the association between victimization and emotional distress. Parental mental disorder and total household adversity were significant moderators for that same association. These results provide important clues for intervention. The focus on promoting secure adult relationships may contribute not only to the psychosocial adjustment of psychiatric patients but also to a healthier family functioning. Reducing the household dysfunction may provide a protective environment for the development of children, promoting a positive psychosocial adjustment, also preventing the intergenerational transmission of violence, insecure attachment, and emotional distress.

© The Author(s) 2016.

Language: en


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