Maladaptive appraisals as a risk factor for posttraumatic stress: a study of trainee firefighters.
ABSTRACT This study tested the proposal that catastrophic appraisals are a risk factor for developing stress reactions after trauma. Trainee firefighters (N = 82) were assessed during training (and before trauma exposure), and 68 firefighters were subsequently reassessed 6 months after commencing firefighter duty (after trauma exposure). Initial assessment included the Clinician Administered PTSD Scale, the Traumatic Events Questionnaire, and the Posttraumatic Cognitions Inventory. The Clinician Administered PTSD Scale was again administered approximately 20 months after initial assessment and after trauma exposure. Posttraumatic stress at follow-up was predicted by pre*trauma catastrophic thinking (24% of variance). These findings accord with cognitive models predicting that a tendency to catastrophize about negative events is a risk factor for developing posttraumatic stress symptoms.
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ABSTRACT: In this paper, we examine whether source monitoring (SM) errors might be one mechanism that accounts for traumatic memory distortion. Participants watched a traumatic film with some critical (crux) and non-critical (non-crux) scenes removed. Twenty-four hours later, they completed a memory test. To increase the likelihood participants would notice the film's gaps, we inserted visual static for the length of each missing scene. We then added manipulations designed to affect people's SM behaviour. To encourage systematic SM, before watching the film, we warned half the participants that we had removed some scenes. To encourage heuristic SM some participants also saw labels describing the missing scenes. Adding static highlighting, the missing scenes did not affect false recognition of those missing scenes. However, a warning decreased, while labels increased, participants' false recognition rates. We conclude that manipulations designed to affect SM behaviour also affect the degree of memory distortion in our paradigm.Memory 08/2014; · 2.09 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The cognitive model posits that negative appraisals play an important role in posttraumatic stress disorder, in children as well as in adults. This study examined correlates of negative appraisals in relation to trauma exposure and their relationship to posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) in 414 Sri Lankan adolescents, aged 12 to 16, living in areas impacted in varying degrees by the 2004 tsunami. In 2008, participants completed measures of negative appraisals, lifetime traumatic events, posttraumatic stress symptoms, internalizing symptoms, ongoing adversity, and social support. The majority (70 %) of the participants reported multiple traumatic events; 25 % met DSM-IV criteria for full or partial PTSD. Adolescents who had experienced more severe events, abusive events, greater cumulative trauma, or greater current adversity reported more negative appraisals. In regression analyses controlling for known risk factors such as female gender, cumulative trauma, ongoing adversity, and low social support, negative appraisals were the best predictor of PTSS, explaining 22 % of the variance. This relationship appeared specific to PTSS, as negative appraisals did not predict internalizing symptoms. Findings confirm the link between negative cognitions concerning traumatic events and persistent PTSS in adolescents, but longitudinal studies are needed to determine whether appraisals contribute to symptom maintenance over time.Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 02/2015; · 3.09 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Although negative cognitions following traumatic experiences have been studied in persons with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), very little of this work has been conducted in the context of disasters or with individuals with preexisting mental illness. The current study was designed to examine whether negative cognitions would be associated with increased post-Katrina PTSD symptom severity and whether pre-Katrina mental illness would be associated with increased negative cognitions in response to Hurricane Katrina. Data from a sample of 503 Gulf Coast area male veterans who responded to a telephone survey administered approximately 2½ years after Hurricane Katrina were used to examine the study hypotheses. As predicted, negative cognitions were strongly associated with PTSD symptom severity, and individuals with pre-Katrina mental illness did show higher levels of post-Katrina negative cognitions. The strong relationship between negative cognitions and PTSD symptom severity persisted even after removing variance associated with Katrina-related stress exposures, level of perceived social support, and physical damage to property. An interaction between post-Katrina cognitive bias and pre-Katrina mental illness was also observed, showing that cognitive bias was a slightly stronger associate of PTSD symptom severity for individuals without preexisting PTSD. Nevertheless, cognitive bias still showed a strong relationship with PTSD for those with pre-Katrina mental illness, and a mediation analysis indicated that negative cognitions partially mediated the relationship between previous mental illness and PTSD severity. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved)Psychological Trauma Theory Research Practice and Policy 01/2012; 4(6):568. · 0.89 Impact Factor