Posttraumatic growth (PTG) is conceptualized as a positive transformation resulting from coping with and processing traumatic life events. This study examined the contributory roles of personality traits, posttraumatic stress (PTS) severity and their interactions on PTG and its domains, as assessed with the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory Turkish form (PTGI-T). The study also examined the differences in PTG domains between survivors of accidents, natural disasters and unexpected loss of a loved one.
The Basic Personality Traits Inventory, Posttraumatic Diagnostic Scale, and PTGI-T were administered to a large stratified cluster community sample of 969 Turkish adults in their home settings.
The results showed that conscientiousness, agreeableness, and openness to experience significantly related to the total PTG and most of the domains. The effects of extraversion, neuroticism and openness to experience were moderated by the PTS severity for some domains. PTG in relating to others and appreciation of life domains was lower for the bereaved group.
Further research should examine the mediating role of coping between personality and PTG using a longitudinal design.
Domains of posttraumatic growth; personality traits; posttraumatic stress; traumatic event types
Posttraumatic growth (PTG; positive change resulting from the struggle with trauma) was examined among children impacted by Hurricane Katrina. The revised Posttraumatic Growth Inventory for Children (PTGI-C-R) assessed PTG at two time points, 12 (T1) and 22 months (T2) posthurricane. The PTGI-C-R demonstrated good reliability. Analyses focused on trauma-related variables in predicting PTG. Child-reported subjective responses to the hurricane and posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) correlated with PTG at T1; however, in the regression, only PTSS significantly explained variance in PTG. At follow-up, T1 PTG was the only significant predictor of PTG. Findings suggest that the PTGI-C-R may assist efforts to understand children’s responses posttrauma.
The study of posttraumatic growth (PTG) has burgeoned over the last decade, particularly in the area of oncology. The aims of the study were to: (1) describe PTG in patients with hepatobiliary carcinoma, (2) examine agreement between the patient and caregiver measures of patient PTG, and (3) test the associations between PTG and other better established psychological factors and clinically relevant outcomes.
Two hundred and two patients with hepatobiliary carcinoma completed a battery of standardized questionnaires that measured posttraumatic growth, depressive symptoms, optimism, expressed emotion, and quality of life. A subsample of family caregivers also completed ratings of patient PTG, using the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory (PTGI, as well as their own PTG.
No significant increase in PTG was observed between diagnosis and 6-months follow-up with the exception of the Relating to Others subscale of the PTGI. PTG was not found to be associated with quality of life or depressive symptoms. At diagnosis, the agreement between the patients' PTG and family caregivers' rating of PTG was found to be high (ICC= 0.34-0.74, p=0.001-0.05). Posttraumatic growth was found to be significantly associated with optimism [r=0.20 p=0.02-.0.05] and traumatic life events reported in the past three years including recent losses [F(1,52)=6.0, p=0.02] and severe physical injury [F(1,52)=5.5, p=0.02]. Caregivers reported PTG as a result of their loved one's diagnosis of cancer.
Preliminary results suggest that PTG is relatively stable over the first 6-months after diagnosis and results in changes as a result of a diagnosis of cancer were reported, and possibly observed, by others. Family caregivers also experience PTG as a result of their loved one's diagnosis of advanced cancer.
This study investigated the relationship between resilience and religious orientation (internal and external) with posttraumatic growth (PTG). This study also examined the impact of marriage and sex variables on growth.
Participants were selected based on prescreening of a larger group of students enrolled in the University of Shiraz. Participants were recruited in two stages. Three hundred fifty students were randomly selected in the first stage, and those students who experienced a minimum of one traumatic event within the last five years were selected in the second stage. They completed the Traumatic Life Event Questionnaire (TLEQ), the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory-Iranian version (PTGI-I), and the Religious Orientation Scale (ROS).
According to stepwise regression analysis, two subscales of resiliency, novelty seeking and positive future orientation, and a subscale of religious orientation, intrinsic orientation, were related to PTG. In addition, compared to singles, the married subjects experienced greater degree of growth. Personal extrinsic orientation and emotional regulation factor of resilience had a positive and meaningful relationship with PTG, although they were omitted from the regression analysis model. Sex and Socio-Extrinsic religious orientation were not related to PTG.
Some subscales of resiliency and religious orientation could predict posttraumatic growth in Iranian subjects, but there were no gender differences. The intrinsic orientation had the greatest significance in predicting posttraumatic growth. The personal extrinsic orientation had a significant positive correlation with post-traumatic growth, no significant correlation was observed between social extrinsic orientation and post-traumatic growth. The openness to experience was an important feature for proper growth of people facing a trauma. Optimistic subjects showed more flexibility in their coping strategies, and therefore had a tendency to adapt themselves to problematic situations.
Psychological resilience; Religion and psychology; Trauma
Persons with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have been shown to display elevated baseline cardiovascular activity and a heightened physiological reactivity to trauma-related stimuli. Study 1 examined differences in baseline heart rate (HR) and HR reactivity in 68 survivors of motor vehicle accidents (MVAs) and healthy controls without MVA. MVA survivors with PTSD (n=26), subsyndromal PTSD (n=22), traumatized controls without PTSD (non-PTSD with MVA, n=20) and healthy controls without MVA (HC, n=27) underwent measurement of HR during baseline and exposure to a neutral, positive, negative, and trauma-related picture. PTSD patients showed elevated baseline HR and increased HR reactivity only during exposure to the trauma-related picture. Study 2 investigated whether the elevated physiological responses observed in Study 1 normalized after cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). We conducted a randomized, controlled treatment trial comparing CBT (n=17) to a Wait-list condition (WLC, n=18). Results showed a greater decrease in HR reactivity for CBT than for WLC. The change in HR reactivity was associated with clinical improvement.
heart rate; MVA; PTSD; treatment
Data indicates that millions of motor vehicles accidents (MVA) occur each year and that MVAs are one of the leading causes of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Despite these findings, PTSD screening tools have not been identified for MVA populations. The current study examines two potential PTSD screening tools, the Impact of Event Scale (IES) and the PTSD Symptom Scale, Self-Report (PSS-SR), in a large sample of MVA survivors. For the IES using a cutoff score of 27, sensitivity was .91, specificity was .72 and overall correct classification was .80. For the PSS-SR using a cutoff score of 14, sensitivity was .91, specificity was .62 and overall correct classification was .74. These data support the use of the IES and the PSS-SR as PTSD screening tools in MVA samples.
PTSD; motor vehicle accident; screening; self-report measures; assessment
We translated, modified, and extended a cognitive behavioral treatment (CBT) protocol by Blanchard and Hickling (2003) for the purpose of treating survivors of MVA with full or subsyndromal posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) whose native language is German. The treatment manual included some additional elements, e. g. cognitive procedures, imaginal reliving, and facilitating of posttraumatic growth. The current study was conducted in order to test the efficacy of the modified manual by administering randomized controlled trial in which a CBT was compared to a wait-list control condition.
Forty-two motor vehicle accident survivors with chronic or severe subsyndromal posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) completed the treatment trial with two or three detailed assessments (pre, post, and 3-month follow-up).
CAPS-scores showed significantly greater improvement in the CBT condition as compared to the wait list condition (group × time interaction effect size d = 1.61). Intent-to-treat analysis supported the outcome (d = 1.34). Categorical diagnostic data indicated clinical recovery of 67% (post-treatment) and 76% (3 months FU) in the treatment group. Additionally, patients of the CBT condition showed significantly greater reductions in co-morbid major depression than the control condition. At follow-up the improvements were stable in the active treatment condition.
The degree of improvement in our treatment group was comparable to that in previously reported treatment trials of PTSD with cognitive behavioral therapy.
Posttraumatic Diagnostic Scale (PDS) is a self-descriptive measure developed to provide information regarding posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) diagnosis and symptom severity.
The aim of this article is to report on the validation of the Polish version of PDS and to test its factor structure with reference to two models: an original three-factor model (Reexperiencing, Avoidance, and Arousal) and alternative five-factor model (Reexperiencing, Avoidance, Numbing, Dysphoric Arousal, and Anxious Arousal).
The validation procedure included three studies conducted on samples of separate populations: university-level students (n=507), individuals who had experienced various traumas (n=320), and treatment-seeking survivors of motor vehicle accidents (MVA) (n=302). Various other measures of trauma-related psychopathology were administered to participants, as well as the PTSD module of the Structured Clinical Interview (SCID) in the case of MVA patients.
PDS showed high internal consistency and test–retest reliability, good diagnostic agreement with SCID, good sensitivity but relatively low specificity. The satisfactory convergent validity was supported by a large number of significant correlations with other measures of trauma-related psychopathology. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) generally confirmed both the three-factor structure and the alternative five-factor structure of the questionnaire.
The results show generally good psychometric properties of the Polish version of PDS.
posttraumatic stress disorder; PDS; questionnaire; validity; reliability; factor analysis
Individuals who experience a serious motor vehicle accident (MVA) are at increased risk for psychological problems, particularly Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In this article, we review the literature on PTSD among MVA survivors, with particular attention to available instruments to screen for and assess symptomatology of the disorder. Approaches to the treatment of PTSD in this population are reviewed, separated into interventions designed to prevent PTSD in unselected samples, treatment targeting individuals with Acute Stress Disorder that are designed to prevent subsequent development of PTSD, and therapy for individuals with chronic PTSD. Treatment process issues are discussed, in an effort to integrate empirical findings with clinical observations. The empirical literature suggests several approaches to treatment that have good potential outcomes, although continued work is needed to identify factors that predict treatment response, as well as augment individual-based treatment formats.
Trauma; Road traffic accidents; Cognitive Behavior Therapy; Supportive Psychotherapy; Acute Stress Disorder
Poor social support in the aftermath of a traumatic event is a well-established risk factor for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among adult trauma survivors. Yet, a great deal about the relationship between social support and PTSD remains poorly understood. In this study, we analyzed data from 102 survivors of a serious motor vehicle accident (MVA) at 4 weeks (Time 1) and 16 weeks (Time 2) post-MVA. We assessed the role of perceived dyadic social support, positive dyadic interaction, and negative dyadic interaction in the development and maintenance of PTSD. In addition, we examined how these social support constructs work together with negative post-trauma cognitions to affect the maintenance of PTSD. Neither perceived social support nor the quality of social interaction (i.e., positive or negative) was associated with PTSD symptom severity at Time 1. However, among those with elevated PTSD symptom severity at Time 1, greater social support and positive social interaction and lower negative social interaction were each associated with reductions in PTSD symptom severity from Time 1 to Time 2. For social support and negative social interaction, this association ceased to be significant when jointly assessed with negative post-trauma cognitions, suggesting that perceived social support and negative dyadic interaction were associated with maintenance of PTSD symptom severity because of their association with negative post-trauma cognitions. These results provide support to models and treatments of PTSD that emphasize the role of negative post-trauma cognitions in maintenance of PTSD.
Two studies of assault survivors (Ns = 180, 70) examined associations between posttraumatic growth (PTG) and posttrauma psychopathology. Both studies found significant curvilinear associations between PTG and posttraumatic stress disorder, whereas only Study 1 found a curvilinear association between PTG and depression symptom severity. Survivors with no or high growth levels reported fewer symptoms than those who reported moderate growth. Study 1 also investigated potential PTG predictors. Non-Caucasian ethnicity, religiousness, peritraumatic fear, shame, and ruminative thinking style, assessed at 2 weeks, predicted growth at 6 months. Posttraumatic growth may thus be most relevant in trauma survivors who attach enduring significance to the trauma for their lives and show initial distress. Moderate levels of PTG do not seem to ameliorate posttrauma psychopathology.
Given that more than one-third of some cohorts of cancer survivors exhibit post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptomatology, this study examines how trauma outcomes might relate to quality of life (QOL). Eight hundred thirty survivors of adult lymphoma were assessed for PTSD, post-traumatic growth (PTG) and QOL. Structural equation modeling revealed that QOL was best explained by the model in which stressors (e.g., co-morbidities) were mediated by PTSD and PTG. Trauma outcomes mediated the relationship between specific stressors and QOL. These findings support using PTSD and PTG as a diagnostic framework in understanding symptomatology in survivors.
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD); post-traumatic growth (PTG); quality of life (QOL); structural equation modeling (SEM)
The study investigated the power of theoretically derived cognitive variables to predict posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), travel phobia, and depression following injury in a motor vehicle accident (MVA). MVA survivors (N = 147) were assessed at the emergency department on the day of their accident and 2 weeks, 1 month, 3 months, and 6 months later. Diagnoses were established with the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM–IV. Predictors included initial symptom severities; variables established as predictors of PTSD in E. J. Ozer, S. R. Best, T. L. Lipsey, and D. S. Weiss's (2003) meta-analysis; and variables derived from cognitive models of PTSD, phobia, and depression. Results of nonparametric multiple regression analyses showed that the cognitive variables predicted subsequent PTSD and depression severities over and above what could be predicted from initial symptom levels. They also showed greater predictive power than the established predictors, although the latter showed similar effect sizes as in the meta-analysis. In addition, the predictors derived from cognitive models of PTSD and depression were disorder-specific. The results support the role of cognitive factors in the maintenance of emotional disorders following trauma.
posttraumatic stress disorder; depression; travel phobia; motor vehicle accidents; cognition
Avoidance coping (AVC) is common in individuals with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and in individuals with alcohol use disorder (AUD). Given that PTSD and AUD commonly co-occur, AVC may represent a risk factor for the development of comorbid post-traumatic stress and alcohol use. In this study, the relationship between AVC and PTSD symptoms (PTSS) was examined in individuals with versus without AUDs. Motor vehicle accident (MVA) victims were assessed 6-weeks post accident for AUD history (i.e. diagnoses of current/past alcohol abuse/dependence) and AVC. PTSS were assessed 6-weeks and 6-months post-MVA. All analyses were conducted on the full sample of MVA victims as well as on the subset of participants who were legally intoxicated (BAC ≥ 0.08) during the accident. It was hypothesized that the relationship between AVC and PTSS would be stronger in those individuals with an AUD history and especially strong in the subset of individuals who were legally intoxicated during the MVA. Results were largely supportive of this hypothesis, even after controlling for in-hospital PTSS, gender, and current major depression. Early assessment of AUD history and avoidance coping may aid in detecting those at elevated risk for PTSD, and intervening to reduce avoidance coping soon after trauma may help to buffer the development of PTSD+AUD comorbidity.
Avoidance coping; Alcohol use disorder; Substance use disorder; Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Posttraumatic growth (PTG) involves personal psychological growth in response to a traumatic or very stressful event. Using theoretical guidance from Tedeschi and Calhoun's cognitive model, this study evaluated the relationship between specific individual, distress, and stress-processing factors and PTG among young adults who experienced an illness-related trauma earlier in life through a relative's serious illness. Sixty individuals with a relative with a serious illness completed measures of PTG, posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS), anxiety, and coping. PTG was positively associated with trait anxiety, PTSS, and the use of active, problem-focused coping strategies. Factors associated with PTG development in individuals who have a relative with a chronic illness are similar to that of individuals who had a serious illness themselves. The relationship between PTSS and PTG is moderated by whether the relative's current illness status is resolved versus not resolved.
posttraumatic growth; posttraumatic stress; chronic illness; relatives
The experience of cancer can be understood as a psychosocial transition, producing both positive and negative outcomes. Cognitive processing may facilitate psychological adjustment.
Fifty-five post-treatment, colorectal cancer survivors (M=65.9 years old; SD=12.7), an average of thirteen months post-diagnosis, were recruited from a state cancer registry and completed baseline and three-month questionnaires assessing dispositional (social desirability), cognitive processing (cognitive intrusions, cognitive rehearsal) and psychological adjustment variables (posttraumatic growth (PTG), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptomatology, depression, anxiety, positive affectivity).
PTSD symptomatology was positively associated with depression, anxiety and negatively associated with positive affectivity. In contrast, PTG scores were unrelated to PTSD symptomatology, depression, anxiety, and positive affectivity. In addition, PTG was independent of social desirability. Notably, after controlling for age at diagnosis and education, multiple regression analyses indicated cognitive processing (intrusions, rehearsal) was differentially predictive of psychological adjustment. Baseline cognitive intrusions predicted three-month PTSD symptomatology and there was a trend for baseline cognitive rehearsal predicting three-month PTG.
Additional research is needed to clarify the association between PTG and other indices of psychological adjustment, further delineate the nature of cognitive processing, and understand the trajectory of PTG over time for survivors with colorectal cancer.
posttraumatic growth; PTSD symptomatology; cognitive processing; psychological adjustment; cancer; oncology
Psychiatric outpatients with a refugee background have often been exposed to a variety of potentially traumatizing events, with numerous negative consequences for their mental health and quality of life. However, some patients also report positive personal changes, posttraumatic growth, related to these potentially traumatic events. This study describes posttraumatic growth, posttraumatic stress symptoms, depressive symptoms, post-migration stressors, and their association with quality of life in an outpatient psychiatric population with a refugee background in Norway.
Fifty five psychiatric outpatients with a refugee background participated in a cross-sectional study using clinical interviews to measure psychopathology (SCID-PTSD, MINI), and four self-report instruments measuring posttraumatic growth, posttraumatic stress symptoms, depressive symptoms, and quality of life (PTGI-SF, IES-R, HSCL-25-depression scale, and WHOQOL-Bref) as well as measures of social integration, social network and employment status.
All patients reported some degree of posttraumatic growth, while only 31% reported greater amounts of growth. Eighty percent of the patients had posttraumatic stress symptoms above the cut-off point, and 93% reported clinical levels of depressive symptoms. Quality of life in the four domains of the WHOQOL-Bref levels were low, well below the threshold for the’life satisfaction’ standard proposed by Cummins.
A hierarchic regression model including depressive symptoms, posttraumatic stress symptoms, posttraumatic growth, and unemployment explained 56% of the total variance found in the psychological health domain of the WHOQOL-Bref scale. Posttraumatic growth made the strongest contribution to the model, greater than posttraumatic stress symptoms or depressive symptoms. Post-migration stressors like unemployment, weak social network and poor social integration were moderately negatively correlated with posttraumatic growth and quality of life, and positively correlated with psychopathological symptoms. Sixty percent of the outpatients were unemployed.
Multi-traumatized refugees in outpatient clinics reported both symptoms of psychopathology and posttraumatic growth after exposure to multiple traumatic events. Symptoms of psychopathology were negatively related to the quality of life, and positively related to post-migration stressors such as unemployment, weak social network and poor social integration. Posttraumatic growth was positively associated with quality of life, and negatively associated with post-migration stressors. Hierarchical regression modeling showed that posttraumatic growth explained more of the variance in quality of life than did posttraumatic stress symptoms, depressive symptoms or unemployment. It may therefore be necessary to address both positive changes and psychopathological symptoms when assessing and treating multi-traumatized outpatients with a refugee background.
Trauma survivors with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) report heightened physiological responses to a wide range of stimuli. It has been suggested that associative learning and stimulus generalization play a key role in the development of these symptoms. Some studies have found that trauma survivors with PTSD show greater physiological responses to individualized trauma reminders in the initial weeks after trauma than those without PTSD. This study investigated whether heart rate and skin conductance responses (HRR, SCR) to standardized trauma-related pictures at 1 month after the trauma predict chronic PTSD.
Survivors of motor vehicle accidents or physical assaults (N=166) watched standardized trauma-related, generally threatening and neutral pictures at 1 month post- trauma while their HRR and SCR were recorded. PTSD symptoms were assessed with structured clinical interviews at 1 and 6 months; self-reports of fear responses and dissociation during trauma were obtained soon after the trauma.
At 1 month, trauma survivors with PTSD showed greater HRR to trauma-related pictures than those without PTSD, but not to general threat or neutral pictures. HRR to trauma-related pictures predicted PTSD severity at 1 and 6 months, and were related to fear and dissociation during trauma. SCR was not related to PTSD.
HRR to standardized trauma reminders at 1 month after the trauma differentiate between trauma survivors with and without PTSD, and predict chronic PTSD. Results are consistent with a role of associative learning in PTSD and suggest that early stimulus generalization may be an indicator of risk for chronic PTSD.
Posttraumatic stress disorder; psychophysiology; prospective study; associative learning; dissociation; anxiety
Acute stress responses of women are typically more reactive than that of men. Women, compared to men, may be more vulnerable to posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Whether there are differences between women and men with PTSD in levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, was investigated in a pilot study.
women (n=6) and men (n=3) motor vehicle accident (MVA) survivors, with PTSD, had saliva collected at 1400 h, 1800 h, and 2200 h. Cortisol levels in saliva were measured by radioimmunoassay. An interaction between gender and time of sample collection was observed due to women’s cortisol levels being lower and decreasing over time, whereas men’s levels were higher and increased across time of day of collection. Results of this pilot study suggest a difference in the pattern of disruption of glucocorticoid secretion among women and men with PTSD. Women had greater suppression of their basal cortisol levels than did men; however, the diurnal pattern for cortisol levels to decline throughout the day was observed among the women but not the men.
Cortisol; Glucocorticoid; PTSD; Motor vehicle accident; MVA; Gender
The Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale (CD-RISC) measures various aspects of psychological resilience in patients with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other psychiatric ailments. This study sought to assess the reliability and validity of the Korean version of the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale (K-CD-RISC).
In total, 576 participants were enrolled (497 females and 79 males), including hospital nurses, university students, and firefighters. Subjects were evaluated using the K-CD-RISC, the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), the Impact of Event Scale-Revised (IES-R), the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES), and the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS). Test-retest reliability and internal consistency were examined as a measure of reliability, and convergent validity and factor analysis were also performed to evaluate validity.
Cronbach's α coefficient and test-retest reliability were 0.93 and 0.93, respectively. The total score on the K-CD-RISC was positively correlated with the RSES (r=0.56, p<0.01). Conversely, BDI (r=-0.46, p<0.01), PSS (r=-0.32, p<0.01), and IES-R scores (r=-0.26, p<0.01) were negatively correlated with the K-CD-RISC. The K-CD-RISC showed a five-factor structure that explained 57.2% of the variance.
The K-CD-RISC showed good reliability and validity for measurement of resilience among Korean subjects.
Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale; Posttraumatic stress disorder; Resilience; Reliability; Validity; Trauma
As research on quality of life of colorectal cancer (CRC) survivors has mainly focused on downsides of cancer survivorship, the aim of this study is to investigate benefit finding (BF) and post-traumatic growth (PTG) in long-term CRC survivors.
Benefit finding, PTG, and quality of life were assessed 5 years after diagnosis in a population-based cohort of 483 CRC patients using the benefit finding scale, the post-traumatic growth inventory, and the EORTC QLQ-C30. Prevalence of BF and PTG, determinants of moderate-to-high BF and PTG, and the association between BF, PTG, and quality of life were investigated.
Moderate to high levels of BF and PTG were experienced by 64% and 46% of the survivors, respectively. Survivors with the highest level of education and with higher depression scores reported less BF and PTG. The PTG increased with increasing stage and self-reported burden of diagnosis. Quality of life only correlated weakly with PTG (Pearson's r=0.1180, P=0.0112) and not with BF (r=0.0537, P=0.2456).
Many long-term CRC survivors experience BF and PTG. As these constructs were not strongly correlated with quality of life, focusing solely on quality of life after cancer misses an important aspect of survivorship.
benefit finding; colorectal cancer; long-term; post-traumatic growth; quality of life; cancer survivors
Physiological responses to trauma reminders are one of the core symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Nevertheless, screening measures for PTSD largely rely on symptom self-reports. It has been suggested that psychophysiological assessments may be useful in identifying trauma survivors with PTSD (Orr and Roth, 2000). This study investigated whether heart rate (HR) responses to standardized trauma-related pictures distinguish between trauma survivors with and without acute PTSD.
Survivors of motor vehicle accidents or physical assaults (N = 162) watched standardized trauma-related, generally threatening and neutral pictures at 1 month post-trauma while their ECG was recorded. At 1 and 6 months, structured clinical interviews assessed PTSD diagnoses. Participants completed self-report measures of PTSD severity and depression, peritraumatic responses, coping behaviors and appraisals.
Trauma survivors with acute PTSD showed greater HR responses to trauma-related pictures than those without PTSD, as indicated by a less pronounced mean deceleration, greater peak responses, and a greater proportion showing HR acceleration of greater than 1 beat per minute. There were no group differences in HR responses to generally threatening or neutral pictures. HR responses to trauma-related pictures contributed to the prediction of PTSD diagnosis over and above what could be predicted from self-reports of PTSD and depression. HR responses to trauma-related pictures were related to fear and data-driven processing during the trauma, safety behaviors, suppression of trauma memories, and overgeneralized appraisals of danger.
The results suggest that HR responses to standardized trauma-related pictures may help identify a subgroup of patients with acute PTSD who show generalized fear responses to trauma reminders. The early generalization of triggers of reexperiencing symptoms observed in this study is consistent with associative learning and cognitive models of PTSD.
Posttraumatic stress disorder; Depression; Heart rate; Associative learning; Anxiety; Cognitive models; Stimulus generalization
Sixty young adult survivors of a serious childhood illness completed quantitative and qualitative measures assessing the relationship between specific disease and distress factors and posttraumatic growth (PTG). Individuals who had recovered from their illness reported greater growth than those who were currently experiencing their illness. The regression model accounted for 47% of the variance in PTG, with perceived severity, illness status, and posttraumatic stress symptoms emerging as significant predictors. Qualitative analyses identified salient positive and negative factors associated with having had an illness, such as a positive shift in perspective and frequent medical requirements. Being past the daily demands of illness management may allow for greater PTG. Realization of positive aspects of having had an illness may require prompting.
posttraumatic growth; posttraumatic stress; chronic illness; young adulthood
There is preliminary evidence that enhanced priming for trauma-related cues plays a role in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A prospective study of 119 motor vehicle accident survivors investigated whether priming for trauma-related stimuli predicts PTSD. Participants completed a modified word-stem completion test comprising accident-related, traffic-related, general threat, and neutral words at 2 weeks post-trauma. Priming for accident-related words predicted PTSD at 6 months follow-up, even when initial symptom levels of PTSD and depression and priming for other words were controlled. The results are in line with the hypothesis that enhanced priming for traumatic material contributes to the development of chronic PTSD.
priming; implicit memory; information processing; PTSD; trauma
Background. Few disaster studies have specifically examined personality and resilience in association with disaster exposure, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and major depression. Methods. 151 directly-exposed survivors of the Oklahoma City bombing randomly selected from a bombing survivor registry completed PTSD, major depression, and personality assessments using the Diagnostic Interview Schedule for DSM-IV and the Temperament and Character Inventory, respectively. Results. The most prevalent postdisaster psychiatric disorder was bombing-related PTSD (32%); major depression was second in prevalence (21%). Bombing-related PTSD was associated with the combination of low self-directedness and low cooperativeness and also with high self-transcendence and high harm avoidance in most configurations. Postdisaster major depression was significantly more prevalent among those with (56%) than without (5%) bombing-related PTSD (P < .001)
and those with (72%) than without (14%) predisaster major depression (P < .001). Incident major depression was not associated with the combination of low self-directedness and low cooperativeness. Conclusions. Personality features can distinguish resilience to a specific life-threatening stressor from general indicators of well-being. Unlike bombing-related PTSD, major depression was not a robust marker of low resilience. Development and validation of measures of resilience should utilize well-defined diagnoses whenever possible, rather than relying on nonspecific measures of psychological distress.