Correlates of Psychological Distress Among Urban Trauma-Exposed Adults: Influence of Age and Coping Preferences

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Abstract

Objective: This article examines direct and moderating effects of age on coping preferences for psychological distress among a sample of trauma-exposed adults to inform treatment approaches for this population. Method: Using data from a community survey of trauma-exposed, urban-dwelling adults (n = 181), direct and moderating effects of coping preferences on the relationship between age and psychological distress were examined using hierarchical linear regression. Results: Direct effects with distress were supported for age, gender, and coping preferences of avoidance and positive reframing. No direct effects with problem-focused coping were present; however, a significant interaction resulted with the relationship between age and level of reported distress. Discussion: Problem-focused coping may provide a buffering effect on experiences with distress for older trauma-exposed adults. Findings highlight the benefits of directive and action-oriented approaches to care for aging adults. Implications for future intervention research and clinical considerations for treating trauma over the life course are discussed.

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