The Role of Hyperarousal in the Manifestation of Posttraumatic Psychological Distress Following Injury

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Abstract

The authors examined the temporal relation among posttraumatic stress disorder symptom clusters, using data derived from a longitudinal study of survivors of orofacial injury (N = 264). They conducted cross-lagged panel analyses, with self-reported symptom data collected at 1, 6, and 12 months postinjury. Results demonstrate that hyperarousal was a potent predictor of subsequent symptoms of reexperiencing and avoidance as well as hyperarousal. By contrast, neither reexperiencing nor avoidance was significantly related to other symptom clusters other than themselves over time. These findings underscore the distinctive nature of hyperarousal in the manifestation of posttraumatic psychological distress over time. Implications for theory, clinical intervention, and future research are discussed.

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