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Attachment Anxiety and Dissociation Mediate Associations Between Polytrauma and Somatization in Kenyan Adolescents.

The experience of several potentially traumatic events (PTE) is a risk factor for higher somatization symptoms severity among adolescents. Attachment orientations and dissociation may influence the link between exposure to PTE and somatization symptoms severity. We analyzed the associations between direct exposure to PTE and somatization symptoms in Kenyan adolescents and explored the mediating role of attachment orientations and dissociation symptoms in the associations between direct exposure to PTE with somatization symptoms severity. A sample of 475 Kenyan adolescents completed validated self-report questionnaires. Serial multiple mediation models were tested by conducting a structural equation modeling employing Preacher and Hayes' procedures (2008). Attachment anxiety and dissociation symptoms mediate the association between direct exposure to traumatic events and somatization symptoms. Higher exposure to traumatic events was significantly associated with higher attachment anxiety levels, which was associated with higher levels of dissociation symptoms, which was then associated with higher somatization symptoms severity. High levels of attachment anxiety and dissociation might aggravate somatization symptoms differently according to sex, which might be seen as a psychological distress mechanism subsequent to exposure to multiple PTE in African adolescents.

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