Turgeon, J., Milot, T., St-Laurent, D. et Dubois-Comtois, K. (2022). Hostile‐helpless states of mind: A scoping review of risk factors, correlates, and consequences. Infant Mental Health Journal, 43(6).


Chronic relational trauma can lead to the formation of pervasively unintegrated attachment representations in adulthood, referred to as Hostile‐Helpless (HH) states of mind. Individuals with this type of attachment disorganization evidence conflicting evaluations of caregivers and have difficulty reflecting on their traumatic childhood experiences. This scoping review is the first to systematically integrate the results of all empirical studies on HH states of mind in an effort to highlight the scientific and clinical contributions of the concept and guide future research. Following Arksey and O'Malley's (2005) Methodological Framework, cross‐reference keywords were searched in three databases (PsycArticles, Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Collection, ProQuest). In total, 19 studies met inclusion criteria and were included in the synthesis. Results suggest that prevalence rates of HH states of mind increase as a function of adults' psychosocial risk status. Findings also reveal that the long‐term consequences of early trauma are greater in the presence of a HH state of mind, whereas the absence of a HH state of mind acts as a protective factor against the intergenerational transmission of maladaptation. Finally, results support the discriminant validity of the HH classification against other forms of attachment disorganization in adulthood. Research gaps and future research directions are discussed.



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