Research suggests important associations between emotion regulation difficulties and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptomology, with prospective studies indicating that emotion regulation difficulties may lead to increased PTSD symptoms. Peritraumatic dissociation is considered an important and consistent predictor of PTSD symptoms. The present study examines whether peritraumatic dissociation accounts for associations between facets of emotion regulation difficulties and PTSD symptoms. Adult women with a history of sexual victimization participated in an interview to assess past-month PTSD symptoms and self-report questionnaires to assess peritraumatic dissociation and emotion regulation difficulties. Results showed a partial indirect effect of three facets of emotion regulation difficulties (i.e., nonacceptance of negative emotional responses, limited access to emotion regulation strategies perceived as effective in the context of distress, and impulse control difficulties when experiencing negative emotions) on PTSD symptoms through peritraumatic dissociation. Reverse indirect effects models were also explored. The present study offers preliminary evidence that peritraumatic dissociation by traumatized individuals may signal the presence of specific emotion regulation deficits, which may indicate increased risk of heightened PTSD severity.
Cognitive Therapy and Research – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 2, 2018
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