Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Jane Stafford

Second Advisor

Ed Callen

Third Advisor

Adam Pazda


Objective: It is well established that childhood attachment style generally predicts adulthood attachment style. However, less is known about how adverse childhood experiences – including abuse, neglect, and trauma – predict adulthood attachment security. The purpose of this study was to better understand how childhood attachment security and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) predict adulthood attachment security with measures that have not yet been used. Methods: Eighty-four participants aged 18 years and older completed the Retrospective Attachment Questionnaire (RAQ), the Adverse Childhood Experiences Questionnaire (ACE Questionnaire), and Experiences in Close Relationships – Revised Questionnaire (ECR-R). Participants were recruited through Amazon Mechanical Turk for the purpose of collecting a diverse demographic sample. It was hypothesized that the interaction between childhood attachment security and ACEs would predict adulthood attachment security. Results: Positive correlations were found between childhood and adulthood security and ACEs and adulthood attachment security. The interaction of childhood anxious attachment and ACE scores was not significant, but ACE scores did significantly contribute to the change in adulthood attachment anxiety. The interaction of childhood avoidant attachment and ACE scores was significant as a predictor, but it was not significant enough to make the overall regression model significant. Conclusions: Support was found for the lifespan approach of attachment and prototype perspective. ACEs appear to contribute to the development of adulthood attachment anxiety. ACEs combined with an avoidant childhood attachment style appear to sustain a pattern of avoidant attachment from childhood through adulthood. Limitations and implications of these findings are discussed.