The role of cognitive appraisals in the disruption of anxiety-buffer functioning among trauma survivors experiencing posttraumatic distress

Bolster, Andre (2015) The role of cognitive appraisals in the disruption of anxiety-buffer functioning among trauma survivors experiencing posttraumatic distress. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Abstract

Background
According to anxiety-buffer disruption theory (ABDT, Pyszczynski & Kesebir, 2011), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) results, in part, from a breakdown in a person’s cultural worldview, which subsequently leaves them vulnerable to experiencing death anxiety (Yalom, 1980, 2008). The cognitive model (Ehlers & Clark, 2000), in turn, proposes that negative appraisals relating to a trauma and its sequelae maintain the symptoms of PTSD. The purpose of the current study was to examine a possible theoretical link between ABDT and the cognitive model. Specifically, it aimed to investigate whether negative trauma-related appraisals play a role in undermining traumatised individuals’ cultural worldviews, thereby leaving them more vulnerable to experiencing death anxiety.
Method
A two-way between-groups experimental design was employed to examine this. Participants with high and low PTSD symptom severity were randomly assigned to either a mortality salience or control condition. Participants were then instructed to complete measures of their cultural worldview and negative trauma-related appraisals.
Results
No relationship was found between participants’ cultural worldviews and their negative trauma-related appraisals.
Doctoral thesis: The role of cognitive appraisals in André Bolster
the disruption of anxiety-buffer functioning among
trauma survivors experiencing posttraumatic distress
iii
Discussion
Due to methodological limitations in the study’s design, it was not possible to draw any firm conclusions concerning the relationship between cultural worldviews and negative trauma-related appraisals. Nevertheless, it seems that no relationship exists between both variables. This is because cultural worldviews and negative trauma-related appraisals appear to operate according to different levels of logic. While cultural worldviews function on a pre-logical level, negative trauma-related appraisals are more conscious and rational in their orientation. The theoretical and clinical implications of this are discussed and areas for future research recommended.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Norwich Medical School
Depositing User: Mia Reeves
Date Deposited: 28 Jan 2016 12:49
Last Modified: 28 Jan 2016 12:49
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/56834
DOI:

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