Attachment styles and attration to death: Diversities among eating disorder patients

Zipora Hochdorf, Yael Latzer, Laura Canetti, Eytan Bachar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The current research was aimed at examining how attachment styles are connected to attraction to death among eating disorder (ED) patients. A sample of 34 anorexic and 34 bulimic patients was matched by age, sex, and socioeconomic status to 37 normal controls. They were administered the Adult Attachment Scale, the Beck Depression Inventory, and the Multi-Attitude Suicidal Tendency Scale. Results show that ED patients scored significantly higher on the insecure attachment scale and were less attracted to and more repulsed by life than controls. No significant differences were found on death variables. A significant difference between the three attachment styles was found beyond depression. The results suggest a model that may explain the diversities of attachment styles and the relationship with death among ED patients. Insecure attachment style may explain the repulsion by life, while the illness itself may serve as a false "secure base" and may protect from the fear of death. Clinicians may thus attempt to replace the "illness secure base" by enriching the attraction to life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-252
Number of pages16
JournalThe American Journal of Family Therapy
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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