An examination of the relationship between attachment organizations and personality characteristics in a sample of young female offenders

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Title: An examination of the relationship between attachment organizations and personality characteristics in a sample of young female offenders
Author: Balasingham, Lavanya, 1975-
Abstract: Mental health services for women in correctional settings have long been overlooked . The result is that while these women often need help , their unique needs are unmet . The purpose of this dissertation is to elucidate some of the specific characteristics of this population that is poorly understood . Due to the distinct relational needs of female offenders , it is proposed that an understanding of the attachment characteristics of this population is particularly valuable , and should perhaps be the basis for approaching treatment . Therefore , this study examined the relationship between personality characteristics , attachment organizations , and psychological distress in a sample of young female offenders who were incarcerated at Texas Youth Commission . Based on the research findings of Espelage et al . (2003 ) that describe personality characteristics in this population , and the attachment framework of Bartholomew and Horowitz (1991 ) , it was expected that participants in this study would primarily be characterized by antisocial and borderline personality features (as measured by the MCMI -III ; Millon , 1994 ) . In addition , it was proposed that participants characterized by antisocial personality features would exhibit a dismissing style of adult attachment and a lack of psychological distress while participants with borderline personality features would exhibit a fearful style of adult attachment and an expression of psychological distress . Results provide support for the prominence of antisocial and borderline personality features in this sample of female offenders . However , there was no relationship between personality characteristics , attachment style and psychological distress . In order to further examine the nature of attachment in this sample , exploratory results investigated the relationship between attachment style and gang membership , and found that endorsement of gang membership was related to secure attachment , and to a lesser degree , preoccupied attachment . Implications of these findings were further discussed . Limitations and contributions of this study in addition to suggestions for future were also explored . In particular , it was suggested that future research examine these same characteristics of personality and attachment from a broader and more nuanced lens , which would reflect the complexities inherent in the population of female offenders .
URI: http : / /hdl .handle .net /2152 /3180
Date: 2008-08-28

Citation

An examination of the relationship between attachment organizations and personality characteristics in a sample of young female offenders. Doctoral dissertation, The University of Texas at Austin. Available electronically from http : / /hdl .handle .net /2152 /3180 .

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