Correlates of Psychological Distress Following Armed Robbery

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Although mental health professionals have long been aware of the impact of traumatic events, it was not until 1980 that the term posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was introduced into the DSM-III. Since then, one major goal of research has been to identify factors associated with distress following trauma; as yet, few reliable indicators have emerged. Within the population of armed robbery victims, this is particularly true. The purpose of this study was to investigate possible correlates of posttrauma distress in armed robbery victims, and to assess the overall level of distress within this group. A questionnaire was mailed out to 57 robbery victims, aged 15 to 65, who were recruited as study volunteers via community outreach. Severity of the trauma, vulnerability attributions, and avoidant coping were significantly related to distress level, and victims exhibited a high level of distress.

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