Child maltreatment is a chronic relational trauma with maladaptive outcomes in terms of both attachment of posttraumatic symptomatology. Many studies show that disorganized attachment is an important risk factor for the onset of externalizing, dissociative and PTSD symptoms. The Internal Working Models (IWM) of attachment disorganization could be a psychological mechanism key to understand the effect of child maltreatment on posttraumatic symptoms. The study aims to: 1) check for any differences in the IWM and posttraumatic symptomatology in a group of 47 of maltreated children and a group of 59 children from disadvantaged families; 2) explore, in maltreated children, if the disorganization mediates the association between type of violence and posttraumatic symptomatology. Results show that maltreated children have more severe maladaptive outcomes than the other group. Moreover, attachment disorganization is the only predictor of depressive symptoms; totally mediates the anger and dissociative symptoms; and partially mediates the anxiety and PTSD symptoms.
Keywords: Child abuse, disorganized attachment, posttraumatic symptoms, children