Honors Theses


Lee Dixon, Ph.D.



Publication Date


Document Type

Honors Thesis


Parenting in childhood can positively or negatively affect physical and mental health and behaviors in adulthood. When a child undergoes abuse or neglect from their caregiver, they often develop inadequate adjustment, due to insecurity in close relationships, which may continue throughout their lives. Furthermore, this insecurity, established in childhood, can manifest in adult romantic relationships, as assurance-seeking, jealousy, and hostility, causing insecurely-attached individuals to attribute blame onto their partners, internal attributes, or circumstances.

These pessimistic attributions, caused by parental- influenced feelings of ambivalence and separation anxiety, may lead to increased tension and dissatisfaction within close relationships. A sample of 150 students enrolled in the introductory psychology course (PSY 101) at the University of Dayton, a private, midwestern, four-year college, will complete self- report questionnaires for this project. While there is a significant body of research that links parental abuse/neglect to insecure attachment and insecure attachment to attribution within relationships, this study aims to mend the gap between endurance of childhood abuse and attribution, with the mediating role of insecure, anxious attachment. If this link is supported, then it indicates a need for community resources geared toward reversing anxious childhood attachment, which results from abuse. Understanding this dynamic would enable marriage counselors to identify abuse as a contributing factor for issues regarding blame and insecurity within romantic relationships.

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This item is protected by copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code) and may only be used for noncommercial, educational, and scholarly purposes.


Undergraduate research


Child Psychology | Psychology