The effect of exposure to missile attacks on posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms as a function of perceived media control and locus of control

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Abstract

Exposure is one of the most robust predictors of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms in warfare situations. Yet, while many are sensitive to exposure, others do not develop PTSD. In the current study, we address how perceived media control along with external locus of control moderate effects of exposure on PTSD symptoms among 1268 individuals exposed to missile attacks (mean age=36.97). We expected that the coupling of low perceived media control, whereby one feels poor control over media consumption (an inability to stop), especially when irrelevant and non-informative (e.g., involuntarily viewing the same terror incident shown repeatedly in a looped fashion) along with a self-perception of external locus of control, will render participants highly vulnerable to exposure. As expected, results suggest that effects of exposure on PTSD are not automatic, rather, the coupling of both low media control along with believing that life event are controlled by external factors exacerbates effects of exposure. These findings bear practical implications, as both media control and locus of control can be modified by therapeutic interventions, rendering one less vulnerable to the detrimental effects of traumatic exposure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-56
Number of pages6
JournalPsychiatry Research
Volume244
DOIs
StatePublished - 30 Oct 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Ireland Ltd

Keywords

  • Locus of control
  • Missile attacks
  • PTSD symptoms
  • Perceived media control

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