Dissertations and Theses

Date of Award


Document Type




First Advisor

Sasha Rudenstine

Second Advisor

Adriana Espinosa

Third Advisor

Eric Fertuck


attachment, personality, trait emotional intelligence, emotion regulation, adverse childhood experiences, clinical sample


There are well-established connections between unfavorable attachment experiences and subsequent personality pathology. Individuals with adverse attachment experiences and those with personality pathology have been found to have difficulty with emotional awareness and emotion regulation. Attachment characteristics inform emotional intelligence and emotion regulation, while emotional intelligence and emotion regulation capacities can be protective against personality pathology and serve as a potential mechanism of positive change in one’s attachment. Complex trauma disrupts attachment and the subsequent development of emotional intelligence, emotion regulation, as well as personality structure.

In this dissertation, we examine the ways in which individual attachment patterns can be linked to one’s personality organization. We also investigate how the ability to take a reflective stance when thinking about internal states in the self and others, as well as the capacity to manage one’s affective experiences, contribute to this link. In addition, we examine the contribution of potentially traumatic experiences in the aforementioned relations by investigating two alternative roles adverse childhood experiences can play in the interrelation between the constructs. The clinical implications of this research include a more nuanced case conceptualization, leading to an easier determination of the most efficacious treatment approach.



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