Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Counseling and Psychological Services
Research suggests that attachment may play a significant role in the way individuals respond to interpersonal trauma (Huang et al., 2017), such that secure attachment tends to buffer the adverse effects of traumatic experiences. Other studies (e.g., Trub et al., 2017) have found similar trends when investigating discrimination, a specific form of trauma, on psychological outcomes. Through a systematic review, Chapter 1 identified themes within research literature investigating attachment, discrimination, and various psychological outcomes. Chapter 2 investigated the moderating role of attachment within the established link between experiences of racism and psychological distress (Carter, 2007). Black/African American students were recruited and instructed to complete measures gathering information on demographics, experiences of racism, attachment, distress, and state-level well-being. Participants were randomly assigned to either an exposure condition (i.e., describing an experience of previous unfair treatment due to the participant’s racial identity) or a neutral condition. Multiple linear regressions were utilized to examine the moderating role of anxious or avoidant attachment levels on the association between lifetime experiences of racism and psychological distress. Further, I explored the moderating role of attachment levels on the relationship between and participation in the exposure condition on state-level well-being, while controlling for participant’s lifetime experiences of racism. Findings revealed that both anxious and avoidant attachment moderated the relationship between lifetime experiences of racism and psychological distress. Only avoidant attachment moderated the relationship between lifetime experiences of racism and negative affect. Neither anxious or avoidant attachment moderated the relationship between the exposure condition and present negative or positive affect. Interpretations and clinical implications are discussed.
Cobourne, Laura, "Examining the Moderating Role of Attachment in the Link between Discrimination and Psychological Distress." Dissertation, Georgia State University, 2024.
File Upload Confirmation
Available for download on Wednesday, December 10, 2025