Interrelationships among three avoidant coping styles and their relationship to trauma, peritraumatic distress, and posttraumatic stress disorder

Melanie D. Hetzel-Riggin, Christina L. Meads

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Research suggests the existence of distinct avoidant coping mechanisms after trauma: peritraumatic dissociation, secondary alexithymia, and experiential avoidance. Within the Emotional Processing Model (Foa and Kozak, Psychol Bull. 99:20-35, 1986), research suggests that each of these avoidant coping mechanisms comes into play at a different phase of traumatic stress development. The present study sought to confirm if these three avoidant coping mechanisms are different constructs and how they relate to each other and the experience of trauma, peritraumatic distress, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A total of 227 participants with a trauma history completed measures on trauma experience, peritraumatic distress, peritraumatic dissociation, secondary alexithymia, experiential avoidance, and PTSD. Structural equation modeling confirmed that peritraumatic dissociation, secondary alexithymia, and experiential avoidance influence different phases of the development of traumatic stress problems. These results also confirm that the Emotional ProcessModel provides a good context for understanding the interrelationships among the avoidant coping mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-131
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Nervous and Mental Disease
Volume204
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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