3 years ago

Cross-lagged associations between posttraumatic stress symptoms and coping self-efficacy in long-term recovery: A four-wave comparative study

Trauma-related coping self-efficacy (CSE) – in brief, the perceived ability to cope with the aftermath of a traumatic event – has been shown to affect psychological outcomes. A previous study showed that CSE affects subsequent PTSS levels, but not vice versa among a sample exposed 0–6 months ago. Objective In this four-wave follow-up study we examined the cross-lagged relationships between CSE and posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) among those exposed to PTEs (potentially traumatic events) 1–2 years before T1 in order to examine direction of influence. Research questions were: 1) what are the cross-lagged associations between CSE and PTSS levels among those exposed to PTE in the relatively long-term (1–2 years ago, called PTE long-term group), and 2) to what extent do these associations differ from the cross lagged associations among those exposed to PTE in the relatively short-term (0–6 months ago)? Method Study samples consist of adult respondents of a representative internet panel who experienced a PTE between 1 and 2 years before T1, and did not experience any new PTE between T1 and T3 (long-term group, N = 438) and those exposed in the six months before T1, and not exposed to any additional PTE (short-term group, N = 400). Levels of CSE and PTSS were measured with 4-month intervals. In addition, prospectively assessed personality traits and peritraumatic distress were entered in the analyses. Results Structural equation modeling showed that CSE perceptions will continue to influence subsequent PTSS levels in the long-term, just as they did in the short-term. Contrary to the more short-term post-exposure period however, CSE levels do not just influence recovery from PTSS. Over time, degree of PTSS experienced also influences subsequent CSE perceptions. Conclusion Results suggest that while trauma-related CSE perceptions are relatively robust in the short-term recovery period, they can be affected by posttraumatic stress in the long-term.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0277953617305841

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