Category: PTSD

Symposium

Blame Cognitions and PTSD Symptoms: Active Duty Military Personnel Receiving Cognitive Processing Therapy

Friday, November 17
1:45 PM - 3:15 PM
Location: Sapphire Ballroom E & F, Level 4, Sapphire Level

Keywords: PTSD Posttraumatic Stress Disorder | Cognitive Schemas / Beliefs | Therapy Process
Presentation Type: Symposium

Cognitive-behavioral theories of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) emphasize the role of negative posttraumatic cognitions in the development and maintenance of symptoms (e.g., Ehlers & Clark, 2000). While both negative posttraumatic cognitions and PTSD symptoms have been shown to decrease over the course of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for PTSD (Diehle, Schmitt, Daams, Boer, & Lindauer, 2014), further research is needed to determine whether cognitive change precedes and predicts symptom change. The goal of this study was to examine whether weekly changes in self- and other-blame cognitions predicted subsequent changes in PTSD symptoms and/or vice-versa during the course of cognitive processing therapy (CPT) for PTSD. Participants consisted of 321 active-duty US Army soldiers with PTSD who had received CPT in one of two clinical trials. Symptoms of PTSD and blame cognitions were assessed at pre-treatment, weekly throughout the 6-week treatment, and again at follow-up. Bivariate latent difference score modeling was used to examine temporal sequential dependencies between the constructs. We found that, over the course of CPT, early changes in self-blame cognitions predicted subsequent changes in PTSD symptoms; however, changes in other-blame did not predict subsequent changes in PTSD symptoms. Findings emphasize the clinical importance of identifying and targeting self-blame cognitions early in treatment.

Kirsten H. Dillon

Duke University Medical Center

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