World assumptions and post-traumatic symptoms: The moderating role of metacognition

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Research shows that traumatic events may shatter people's perceptions and assumptions about the world, potentially resulting in PTSD symptoms as well as a lack of integration of the event into one's narrative and experiencing the self as flawed, fragmented, and incoherent. Metacognition, the ability to reflect upon oneself and others and the use of this knowledge to respond to challenges, is often impaired among people coping with PTSD. In the current study we explored the association between world assumptions and PTSD symptoms, and whether metacognition moderated this association. Thirty-nine people (age M = 23.67, SD = 2.86) who experienced different types of traumatic events participated in the study and took part in comprehensive interviews. Metacognition was coded via the Metacognition Assessment Scale-Abbreviated (MAS-A) based on the trauma narrative elicited in the interview. World assumptions and PTSD symptoms were assessed via self-report questionnaires. Results showed negative correlations between world assumptions and PTSD symptoms and no relationship between metacognition and PTSD symptoms. Although the overall interaction effects were only marginally significant, conditional effects did show a significant interaction indicating that the presence of different levels of metacognition was related to the association between world assumptions and PTSD symptoms. Accordingly, among participants with high levels of metacognition, positive world assumptions were related to the presence of fewer PTSD symptoms, whereas among participants with lower levels of metacognition, this relationship was not found. Suggestions for further exploring the impact of world assumptions and metacognition on PTSD symptoms are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100389
JournalEuropean Journal of Trauma and Dissociation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 Elsevier Masson SAS


This study was funded by the Bar Ilan University Rector's Grant for Interdisciplinary Research Teams.

FundersFunder number
Bar-Ilan University


    • Metacognition
    • PTSD
    • World assumptions


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