Do PTSD symptoms and trauma-related cognitions about the self constitute a vicious cycle? Evidence for both cognitive vulnerability and scarring models

Golan Shahar, Gal Noyman, Inbal Schnidel-Allon, Eva Gilboa-Schechtman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations

Abstract

Cognitive models of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) posit that negative cognitions regarding the self and the world underlie the disorder. In contrast, scarring models - which postulate that distress brings about an elevation in vulnerability - predict the inverse relationship. Both models were tested amongst 156 Israeli trauma victims. Participants were assessed for PTSD symptoms and trauma-related cognitions (negative thoughts regarding self and world) over 2 weeks (T1), 4 weeks (T2), and 12 weeks (T3) following the traumatic event. A cross-lagged structural equation modeling analysis yielded evidence for both cognitive vulnerability and scarring. Baseline PTSD was prospectively associated with an increase in negative cognitions regarding both the self and the world during the T1-T2 period. Negative cognitions regarding the self were prospectively associated with an increase in PTSD symptoms during both T1-T2 and T2-T3 periods. PTSD symptoms and negative cognitions regarding the self thus appear to form a vicious cognitive-symptomatic cycle which might impede recovery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-84
Number of pages6
JournalPsychiatry Research
Volume205
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - 30 Jan 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The study was partly funded by a grant from the Israeli Foundation Trustees (IFT) to Inbal Schindel-Allon. We gratefully acknowledge the support given by the Israeli Science Foundation and the National Institute of Mental Health (No. NIMH R34 MH71660-01 ) to Eva Gilboa-Schechtman.

Keywords

  • Cognitive vulnerability
  • Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Post-traumatic cognitions
  • Scarring
  • Self
  • Structural equation modeling

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