The onset of chronic illness or disability (CID) can be conceptualized as a threat that activates the attachment system. Moreover, the waxing-and-waning nature of CID-related symptoms and management of acute and chronic illness stressors means that the attachment system may be repeatedly activated. Contending with repeated threats to health (i.e., security) can complicate psychosocial adjustment to CID and can negatively impact health-related quality of life (HRQoL). Adjustment to CID requires intrapersonal resources, such as adaptive coping and self-efficacy. In spite of attachment theory’s relevance to conceptualizing adaptation to CID, no models of psychosocial adaptation to CID account for individual differences in coping behaviors and health self-efficacy through an attachment lens. This limits future theory-driven research. Thus, the present study proposes and tests an integrated model of psychosocial adaptation to CID using an attachment framework.
Investigator, CHEO Research Institute