The Relation of Appraisal, Coping Efforts, and Acuteness of Trauma to PTS Symptoms Among Former Political Prisoners


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Abstract

We examined how trauma-specific appraisals and coping efforts mediate between traumatic experiences, acuteness of trauma, and length of imprisonment and posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTS) among 103 Palestinian former political prisoners. The findings provide support for both direct and mediated models of trauma. The acuteness of trauma (time since release), appraisal of prison experience as harmful and involving loss, and use of both emotion- and problem-focused coping efforts were associated with high levels of PTS symptoms. Torture and ill-treatment had a direct association with intrusion, and recent release from prison with avoidance symptoms. Acuteness of trauma turned out to be important in the coping and symptom association: emotion-focused coping was associated with a low level of PTS symptoms in the long run, whereas problem-focused coping was associated with a low level of PTS symptoms in the short run.

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