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Access Type

WSU Access

Date of Award

January 2021

Degree Type


Degree Name



Counselor Education

First Advisor

John Pietrofesa


The current research study examined effects of social problem-solving skills and attachment styles on anxiety levels in motor vehicle accident (MVA) survivors diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The sample consisted of 23 clients from a private practice in a small city in Ontario, Canada. The population of this study was chosen to address limitations noted in past literature outlining the limited scope of populations examined in the context of PTSD (i.e., nature of trauma). A theoretical framework of attachment theory was outlined as well as a comprehensive literature review examining the independent effects of attachment styles and social problem solving skills on anxiety levels. The participants completed a demographic questionnaire as well as the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI; Beck & Steer, 1993), Social Problem-Solving Inventory-Revised Short Form (SPSI-R (SF; D’Zurilla et al., 2002), and the Adult Attachment Scale (Collins & Reed, 1990). The results of the study found that social problem solving skills did not significantly predict anxiety levels, with a negative relationship expected between social problem-solving skills and anxiety levels. In addition, attachment style did not significantly predict anxiety levels however, the negative relationship between close and dependent attachment and anxiety levels is understandable illustrating that anxiety levels are likely to be low in individuals with more secure attachment styles. Limitations of the study include the homogeneity of the sample demographics, the sample size, measures implemented, and the method of measure administration. Future research is needed to explore these variables on victims of motor vehicle accidents.

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