Open Access Highly Accessed Research

Attachment style, anxiety coping, and personality-styles in withdrawn alcohol addicted inpatients

Dirk Wedekind*, Borwin Bandelow, Soren Heitmann, Ursula Havemann-Reinecke, Kirsten R Engel and Gerald Huether

Author Affiliations

Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Göttingen, von Siebold Strasse 5, 37075, Goettingen, Germany

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Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy 2013, 8:1  doi:10.1186/1747-597X-8-1

Published: 10 January 2013



Insecure early attachment experiences have been reported to play an important role in the manifestation in alcoholism. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship of attachment styles with anxiety, anxiety coping and dysfunctional personality styles, as well as with the prevalence of personality disorders, and adverse life-events in adolescence.


59 inpatient alcohol addicted male (n=43) and female (n=16) patients were characterized by an attachment style scale (Relationships-style-questionnaire-RSQ) and completed a questionnaire battery comprising the State-Trait-Anxiety-Inventory (STAI), the Anxiety-Coping-Inventory (ABI), Temperament-and-character-inventory (TCI), Personality-system-interaction-inventory (PSI), and gave information on sociodemography, alcohol history, and adolescent adverse events. A structured interview (SKID-II) was performed to diagnose personality disorders.


Only 33% of subjects had a secure attachment style. Insecure attachment was associated with significantly higher trait-anxiety, higher cognitive avoidance to control anxiety, and higher values on most personality style dimensions directed to the pathological pole.


Despite the limitation due to a small sample size, the results of this study show that the consideration of attachment styles is of significance in the diagnosis and therapy of alcohol addiction. Attachment may characterize different styles to control emotional aspects, anxiety cues and interpersonal relationships in individuals suffering from alcohol addiction.

Alcohol addiction; Attachment; Personality style; Anxiety