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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 228665 Find in a Library
Title: Attributions for Different Types of Traumatic Events and Post-Traumatic Stress Among Women
Journal: Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment, & Trauma  Volume:18  Issue:5  Dated:July-August 2009  Pages:499-515
Author(s): Heidi M. Zinzow; Joan L. Jackson
Date Published: August 2009
Page Count: 17
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study of 424 female undergraduates who previously experienced a serious accident, natural disaster, child abuse, or adult interpersonal violence, examined the link between individuals’ perceptions of the nature and causes of the traumatic event they had experienced and the resulting symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Abstract: The results confirm that trauma survivors tend to make different types of attributions for different events. Analyses showed the more stable attributions were associated with increased PTSD symptoms for sexual-assault survivors and decreased PTSD symptoms for natural-disaster survivors. In addition, disaster survivors differed from those who endured other types of events. The interaction between stability and event type may be related to the different meanings offered by stable attributions in the context of different events; for example, a stable attribution for sexual assault may reflect the development of negative schemas about oneself or the world, such as “I am always to blame for negative events” or “terrible people will always be trying to hurt me.” This process can be situated within theories of PTSD that relate perceived uncontrollability and incompetence to PTSD. In addition, a path model showed a significant indirect effect for global attributions in relating event type to PTSD symptoms above and beyond the influence of event severity and trauma history. As expected, interpersonal-violence survivors exhibited the highest levels of global attributions. Interpersonal causes are more likely to remain present to impact other areas of a person’s life, in contrast to fleeting environmental causes related to a natural disaster. The 424 women were administered the Traumatic Events Questionnaire, which assessed their experience with 11 types of traumatic events. Six of these events were the focus of the study. They were also administered the Attributional Style Questionnaire, which measured attributions for traumatic events, as well as the Purdue PTSD Scale-Revised, which measured PTSD symptoms. 2 tables, 2 figures, and 49 references
Main Term(s): Female victims
Index Term(s): Domestic assault; Post-trauma stress disorder (PTSD); Psychological victimization effects; Self concept; Sexual assault trauma; Sexual assault victims; Victim attitudes; Victims of violent crime
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