Keywords: PTSD Posttraumatic Stress Disorder | Cognitive Schemas / Beliefs | Risk / Vulnerability Factors
Presentation Type: Symposium
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been chracterized as a disorder of non-recovery: Following trauma, many individuals recover naturally, while a subset of trauma victims remain stuck with symptoms long-term and may be diagnosed with PTSD. One variable that may predict course following trauma is expectancies about the future. We developed a measure of post-traumatic negative expectancies and evaluated the role of these expectancies in trauma outcome. One hundred nineteen assault victims were assessed at two time points: 2 weeks post-trauma (Time 1) and 3 months post-trauma (Time 2). At each time point, participants were assessed for PTSD symptoms using a gold-standard clinical interview and completed questions related to their expectancies about the future (e.g., expectations of impaired relationships, uncontrollable and disruptive symptoms, re-victimization). Results indicated that expectancies had unique predictive power: Negative expectancies at Time 1 predicted PTSD at Time 2, controlling for PTSD and general hopelessness at Time 1 (B = 1.00, p < .01). Time 1 expectancies did not differ between those with PTSD at both Time 1 and Time 2 ("Sustained PTSD" group; M = 1.70, SE = 0.10) versus those with PTSD at Time 2 only ("Latent PTSD" group; M = 1.59, SE = 0.13, p = .97). Likewise, Time 1 expectancies did not differ between those with no PTSD at Time 1 or Time 2 ("No PTSD" group; M = 1.16, SE = 0.14) versus those with PTSD at Time 1 only ("Natural Recovery" group; M = 1.32, SE = 0.10, p = .76). This suggests that negative expectancies at Time 1 distinguished between those who would go on to develop PTSD from those who would recover.
Duke University Medical Center
Thursday, November 16
1:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Friday, November 17
1:45 PM – 3:15 PM
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