Those with OCSB are often (but not always) distressed by their behaviour, and frequently their behaviour can cause distress to others (Black et al., 1997).
To date, the etiology of OCSB is unknown, although researchers and clinicians working in the field agree that OCSB involves multiple interacting factors, including genetics, physiology, environmental factors, family of origin experiences (including intentional abuse or unintentional trauma), and concepts such as impulsivity and compulsivity (Kaplan & Kruegar, 2010; Salisbury, 2008; Seegers, 2003; Shaffer et al., 2004).
A recent hypothesis is that the quality of early attachment experiences might be relevant in terms of establishing the basis for impaired affect regulation, impaired self-regulation, and the interpersonal and intrapersonal difficulties that can contribute to OCSB (Cozolino, 2006; Creeden, 2004; Hudson-Allez, 2009 ; Katehakis, 2009).
While the separate literatures on both attachment theory and OCSB are vast, there are few studies investigating the association between the two, and the existing studies have used correlational designs with non-representative samples.
These few studies suggest that sexual beliefs and behaviour can be associated with attachment style, but more research exploring the relationship between attachment and OCSB is required given that the limited overseas literature to date has involved samples of students, young adults, or men.
Of 885 responses, 264 were excluded because of missing data or giving data that excluded them from participation (e.g., under 18 years old, non-New Zealand resident, or missing data on the OCSB or attachment measures).
An online survey was compiled that involved 136 questions about 1) demographic information, 2) substance use, 3) OCSB (Sexual Addiction Screening Test-Revised; Carnes, Green & Carnes, 2010), 4) adult attachment (Relationship Scale Questionnaire, Griffin & Bartholomew, 1994; Experiences in Close Relationships-Revised; Fraley, Waller, & Brennan, 2000), and 5) anxiety and depression (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale; Zigmond & Snaith, 1983).
OCSB. The SAST-R is a 45-item self-report screening tool for those with sexually compulsive behaviour (Carnes et al., 2010).
Table 1 displays the frequencies of demographic characteristics of the whole sample (N = 621), as well as the OCSB (n = 407) and non-OCSB groups (2) (n = 214; formed as a result of using a cut-off score of six or more on the SAST-R core item scale; Carnes et al., 2010).
There was a similar proportion of men and women in the non-OCSB group, whereas the OCSB group consisted mostly of men, [chi square] (1, n = 619) = 38.05, p < .001, [phi] = .25.
As shown in Table 3, the OCSB group reported lower secure and higher insecure attachment in all domains than the non-OCSB group.