Adult Attachment as a Moderator of the Association Between Childhood Traumatic Experiences and Depression Symptoms Among Young Black Gay and Bisexual Men

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Abstract

Objective: The present study examined the moderating effect of adult attachment on the association between childhood traumatic experiences, (i.e., physical abuse, emotional abuse, emotional neglect, and being bullied), age of childhood traumatic experience, and young adult depression symptoms among young Black gay and bisexual men (YBGBM). Method: Self-report measures of attachment, childhood traumatic experiences, and depression symptoms were collected from a community-based sample of YBGBM living in New York City (n = 228). Regression analyses were conducted to address the study goals. Results: Findings indicated that YBGBM who were more anxious in their adult attachment style and experienced being bullied or physically abused by a non-family member during childhood experienced greater depression in young adulthood than YBGBM who were less anxious in their adult attachment style. In addition, we found that being bullied later in childhood was associated with greater depression symptoms than being bullied earlier. Lastly, we found that YBGBM who were more avoidant and bullied later in adolescence reported more depression symptoms in young adulthood than YBGBM who were less avoidant in their attachment style. Discussion: The findings suggest that it may be important to utilize an attachment perspective that is sensitive to age of traumatic experience when creating mental health and trauma interventions for YBGBM.

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