The impact of traumatic events and symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, beyond DSM-IV

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Lavack-Pambrun, Solange T.
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Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has gained credibility since its introduction in the third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III; American Psychiatric Association, 1980), and has become the subject of an extensive literature. The definition of Criterion A, the traumatic event, is the source of on-going debates because it serves as a gate to the diagnosis of PTSD. The present study investigated (a) whether or not Criterion A should be redefined to include the emotional threat potential of traumatic events and (b) whether or not affective avoidance could serve as a protective factor for individuals who are frequently exposed to traumatic events. The relationships between both the physical and emotional threat aspects of the traumatic event and affective avoidance were also explored. It was hypothesized that emotional threat would be negatively related to affective avoidance but positively related to PTSD symptoms. It was also hypothesized that affective avoidance would be negatively related to PTSD symptoms. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)