The relationship among attachment style, affect regulation, psychological distress and mental construction of the relational world

Rugancı, Ruhsar Neslihan
In this study interpersonal world of the individual was tried to be conceived with its cognitive and affective domain. Two Studies were carried out. In the first study, adaptation of the Difficulty of Emotion Regulation Scale (DERS) developed by Gratz & Roemer (2004), into Turkish was carried out. Additionally, the relation of secure (Ss), dismissing (Ds), preoccupied (Ps), fearful (Fs) and mixed insecure attachment styles with emotion regulation, and the mediator role of the emotion regulation in the association between each attachment style and psychological distress were analyzed, the results of which were also expected to serve for the strength of the validity of Turkish version . As a result of Study I, Turkish version of DERS was established with considerable reliability regarding alpha coefficient, test-retest and split-half reliabilities. Aapproximately similar factor structure with the original version indicating Construct Validity , as an indication of Concurrent Validity DERS and its subscales displayed significant relation with psychological symptoms, and DERS differentiated high and low distress level regarding Criterion Validity. Additionally, Ss were displayed significantly better emotion regulation in general compared to three insecure categories (i.e., except Ds but including Ps, Fs, Mixed insecures), and Ss significantly differed from total insecures in terms of every strategy of emotion regulation as well . Furthermore, psychological distress and Ss, Ps, Fs, (but not Ds) relationship were mediated by emotion regulation. These results were providing additional support for the validity of the Turkish version of DERS. In the second study, possible Clinical and Control Group differences were investigated through comparing the secure, insecure attachment styles of the participants in relation to emotion regulation, psychological distress and their personal construct system regarding the internal representation of self and significant others. Again, mediation of emotion regulation in the association between attachment style and psychological distress were examined both in Clinical and Control Group. Results revealed that Clinical Group had more difficulty to regulate their emotions, except awareness skill and had more psychological distress compared to Control Group. The strength of Ss was displayed with better emotion regulation and less psychological distress even in Clinical Group compared to insecure attachment styles. Effective emotion regulation, as a mediator was associated to low level of psychological distress for Ss, while problem in emotion regulation as a mediator was associated to high level of psychological distress for insecure attachment style both in Clinical and Control Group. Additionally, Ss seemed to integrate the ‘positives’ and ‘negatives’ into ‘self’ and ‘others’ rather than splitting and have better cognitive complexity or multi-dimensional view besides more integrated system compared to insecure attachment styles. Results were discussed considering the promising efficiency of instruments that can be used in Clinical Psychology research and considering the implications regarding the prevention and intervention in Clinical practice.


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Citation Formats
R. N. Rugancı, “The relationship among attachment style, affect regulation, psychological distress and mental construction of the relational world,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2008.