chapter  Chapter Fifteen
9 Pages

Attachment and mentalization in war veterans with and without post-traumatic stress disorder

WithVedrana Berleković, Aleksandar Dimitrijević

This chapter examines whether attachment (in)security and/or mentalization are connected to war trauma. In order to achieve that authors surveyed equally sized groups of war veterans who developed post-traumatic stress disorder and those who did not. Here they see that the exposure to war experiences does have specific consequences in terms of attachment disorganisation: veterans are equally rarely as secure as other citizens of Serbia, but are more frequently without any constant strategy in establishing a close relationship. The quality of attachment and the capacity for mentalization related to it provide the optimal level of emotional excitation and are in fact a significant protective factor in the face of stressful and traumatic situations. Periods of crisis and traumatic situations are far more challenging for those who are characterised by insecure attachment and low mentalization, as they can easily be flooded by anxiety and lack the skills required for eliciting social support in times of need.