Secondary traumatization and attachment among wives of former POWs: A longitudinal study

Yael Lahav, Yaniv Kanat-Maymon, Zahava Solomon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of the present study was to examine the directionality of the association between post-traumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) and attachment insecurities across time among indirect trauma survivors. Wives of former prisoners of war (ex-POWs), with and without post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and comparable controls were assessed 30 (T1) and 38 (T2) years after the Yom Kippur War. As expected, wives of ex-POWs endorsed higher PTSS compared to wives of controls. Wives of ex-POWs with PTSD endorsed higher PTSS and higher attachment avoidance compared to wives of ex-POWs without PTSD and controls. There were significant associations between PTSS and attachment insecurities. Contrary to the hypothesis, the relationship between PTSS and attachment insecurities among wives of ex-POWs was unidirectional, with attachment anxiety at T1 predicting PTSS at T2, and not vice versa. Results indicate that attachment anxiety might act as a risk factor for secondary traumatic reactions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-153
Number of pages13
JournalAttachment and Human Development
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016


  • Attachment
  • PTSD
  • Post-traumatic stress symptoms
  • Prisoners of war
  • Secondary traumatization

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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