First Advisor

Wright, Stephen

Second Advisor

Wright, Stephen

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Previous research has examined the relationship between trauma, attachment, selfcompassion, and emotion regulation, but never with an incarcerated population. Given the link between emotion regulation and illegal behaviors, it may be helpful to more fully understand this relationship in order to lay the groundwork for future intervention research. I gathered data from 378 participants. I then examined the relationships between these constructs on data from 204 participants, the number that remained after cleaning the data, by way of a structural equation model. Findings suggest that greater experiences of trauma may lead to insecure attachment styles, impacting individuals’ ability to trust and access supportive relationships, both of which lead to difficulties regulating emotions, which has been shown to be related to illegal behavior and incarceration. A lack of security in relationships and difficulties in regulating emotions are also connected to an individual’s self-report of self-compassion. This highlights the systemic impact of trauma and ways it may predispose those who have experienced trauma to be more likely to engage in illegal behavior and self-judgment. Research and practice implications are discussed.


156 pages

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