Relationships Between Attribution Style, Child Abuse History, and PTSD Symptom Severity in Vietnam Veterans

VA Puget Sound Health Care System 1660 South Columbian Way (S116-ATC) Seattle WA 98108 USA
Cognitive Therapy and Research (Impact Factor: 1.7). 11/2006; 30(2):123-133. DOI: 10.1007/s10608-006-9018-9


Relationships between learned helplessness, locus of control, child abuse histories, adult trauma exposure and subsequent PTSD symptom severity in a clinical sample of male Vietnam veterans were examined. Learned helplessness and external locus of control were not only reliably associated with each other, but also differentially associated with childhood abuse and PTSD symptom severity. Learned helplessness, in particular, evidenced significant relationships with both childhood trauma and current distress. Contrary to expectations, child abuse history was not reliably associated with combat-related PTSD. Overall results suggested that learned helplessness and external locus of control are correlated, but independent constructs with compelling links to adult psychopathology.

6 Reads
  • Source
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Prior research has established a relationship between external locus of control and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptom severity among Caucasians. There is also evidence that African Americans tend to exhibit an elevated external locus of control. However, the relationship between external control and PTSD symptom severity has not been examined among African American women. Using a sample of African American adult female volunteers who self-reported a history of child abuse and/or sexual or physical assault in adulthood, the present study sought to examine the relationships between trauma history, locus of control, and PTSD symptom severity. Participants in the child/adult trauma group reported fewer PTSD symptoms than those with a history of adult trauma only. Contrary to expectations, however, trauma history was not related to locus of control in this sample of African American women. It is possible that factors associated with African American socialization may serve as a buffer to the development or maintenance of PTSD.
    Journal of Black Psychology 05/2008; 34(2):179-191. DOI:10.1177/0095798407310541 · 0.73 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The war in Bosnia resulted in the displacement of millions of civilians, most of them women. Ten years after the civil war, many of them are still living as refugees in their country of origin or abroad. Research on different refugee groups has continuously reported persistent levels of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental-health problems in this population. The present study compared PTSD and self-concept in Bosnian refugee women (n = 29) with women who were internally displaced (IDP; n = 26) and non-displaced women (n = 32). Data were collected using the Bosnian Trauma Questionnaire and four scales assessing self-esteem, perceived incompetence, externality of control attribution, and persistence. IDPs scored significantly higher on PTSD symptoms, externality of control attribution and perceived incompetence, and lower on self-esteem than both refugee and non-displaced women. The level of education most strongly predicted PTSD symptom severity, followed by the type of displacement, and exposure to violence during the war. Associations of self-concept with displacement and psychopathology were inconsistent, with type of displacement predicting control attributions but not other aspects of self-concept and PTSD symptoms being partly related to perceived incompetence and self-esteem. These results support previous findings stating that, in the long run, refugees show better mental health than IDPs, and that witnessing violence is a traumatic experience strongly linked to the development of PTSD symptoms. Results further indicate that education plays an important role in the development of PTSD symptoms. Associations of control attributions and type of displacement were found; these results have not been previously documented in literature.
    Archives of Women s Mental Health 10/2008; 11(4):269-76. DOI:10.1007/s00737-008-0018-5 · 2.16 Impact Factor
Show more