The role of insecure attachment and psychological mechanisms in paranoid and depressive symptoms: An exploratory model

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Attachment theory is considered an important theoretical framework for understanding the ontogenesis of psychopathology. In this regard, insecure attachment styles have been associated with the development and maintenance of paranoid and depressive symptoms. Furthermore, different psychological processes (i.e., self-esteem and experiential avoidance) have been identified as mediating mechanisms between the relationship of insecure attachment and these symptoms. Nowadays, there is a more positive view in psychology focusing on factors that contribute to well-being, although little is known about the role of these psychological well-being variables as mediators between insecure attachment and psychopathology. For thus, the aim of this study was to test one explorative structural equation model of insecure attachment on paranoid and depressive symptoms through psychological mediating mechanisms to elucidate the processes involved in each of them. To evaluate the model, 141 individuals with severe psychiatric conditions participated in the study. The results revealed good model fit, highlighting that avoidant attachment has a direct and indirect effect on the symptoms, while anxious attachment has only an indirect effect through mediating mechanisms. On the other hand, lower levels of self-acceptance and environmental mastery have been identified as important processes associated with paranoid and depressive symptoms. However, less positive relationships were a significant mediating mechanism only for paranoid ideation symptoms. These results have important clinical implications by shedding light on the relationship between insecure attachment, paranoid and depressive symptoms, and the psychological mediating mechanisms involved in this relationship, which may be considered key variables in clinical treatments.
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