Cultural differences in personal identity in post-traumatic stress disorder

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Objectives.This study investigated cultural differences in goals, self-defining memories, and self-cognitions in those with and without post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).Method.Trauma survivors with and without PTSD, from independent and interdependent cultures (N = 106) provided major personal goals, self-defining memories, and self-cognitions.Results.Trauma survivors with PTSD from independent cultures reported more goals, self-defining memories, and self-cognitions that were trauma-related than non-PTSD trauma survivors from independent cultures. In contrast, for those from interdependent cultures, there was no difference between trauma survivors with and without PTSD in terms of trauma-centred goals, self-defining memories, and self-cognitions.Conclusions.The results suggest cultural variability in the impact of trauma on memory and identity, and highlight the need for contemporary models of PTSD to more explicitly consider culture in their accounts of PTSD. Clinical implications of these findings, such as cultural considerations in assessment and treating trauma relevant self-schema in cognitive therapy for PTSD, are discussed.

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