Advertisement

The Role of Trauma-Specific Irrational Beliefs and Sociodemographic Risk Factors in Posttraumatic Stress Responses

  • Philip HylandEmail author
  • Mark Shevlin
  • Gary Adamson
  • Daniel Boduszek
Original Article

Abstract

Posttraumatic stress responses have been linked to a range of social-cognitive and sociodemographic factors. Rational emotive behaviour therapy suggests that responding to a traumatic life event with a set of irrational beliefs should play a crucial role in predicting the development of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD: Ellis in Overcoming destructive beliefs, feelings, and behaviours: new directions for rational emotive behaviour therapy, Prometheus Books, Amherst, 2001). The current study assessed the role of trauma-specific irrational beliefs in the prediction of clinically relevant posttraumatic stress responses, while controlling for a range of important sociodemographic factors. A sample of 313 trauma-exposed military and law enforcement personnel took part in the current study and were divided into two groups according to the intensity of reported PTSD symptomology. Results of the binary logistic regression indicated that trauma-specific Catastrophizing, Low Frustration Tolerance, and Depreciation beliefs, respectively, significantly predicted belonging to the group reporting strong symptoms of PTSD compared to those reporting mild symptoms of PTSD. These results provide important evidence of the role of irrational beliefs in posttraumatic stress responses and highlight the importance of considering context-specific variants of each irrational belief process.

Keywords

Irrational beliefs Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) Logistic regression Trauma Risk factors 

References

  1. American Psychiatric Association. (1994). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.Google Scholar
  2. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.Google Scholar
  3. Blake, D., Weathers, F., Nagy, L., Kaloupek, D., Klauminzer, G., Charney, D., et al. (1995). A clinician rating scale for assessing current and lifetime PTSD: The CAPS-1. Behavior Therapist, 13, 187–188.Google Scholar
  4. Breslau, N., Kessler, R. C., Chilcoat, H. D., Schultz, L. R., Davis, G. C., & Andreski, P. (1998). Trauma and posttraumatic stress disorder in the community: The 1996 Detroit Area Survey of Trauma. Archives of General Psychiatry, 55, 626–632.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Brewin, C. R., Andrews, B., & Valentine, J. D. (2000). Meta-analysis of risk factors for posttraumatic stress disorder in trauma-exposed adults. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 68, 748–766.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Clark, D. A., & Beck, A. T. (2010). Cognitive therapy of anxiety disorders. London: The Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  7. Corneil, W., Beaton, R., Murphy, S., Johnson, C., & Pike, K. (1999). Exposure to traumatic incidents and prevalence of posttraumatic stress symptomology in urban firefighters in two countries. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 4, 131–141.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Creamer, M., Burgess, P. M., & McFarlane, A. C. (2001). Posttraumatic stress disorder: Findings from the Australian National Survey of Mental Health and Well-Being. Psychological Medicine, 31(7), 1237–1247.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Daie-Gabai, A., Aderka, I. M., Allon-Schindel, I., Foa, E. B., & Gilboa-Schechtman, E. (2011). Posttraumatic cognitions inventory (PTCI): Psychometric properties and gender differences in an Israeli sample. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 25, 266–271.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. David, D., Lynn, S. J., & Ellis, A. (2010). Rational and irrational beliefs: Research, theory, and clinical practice. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  11. David, D., Schnur, J., & Belloiu, A. (2002). Another search for the “hot” cognitions: Appraisal, irrational beliefs, attributions, and their relation to emotion. Journal of Rational-Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy, 15, 93–131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. David, D., & Szentagotai, A. (2006). Cognition in cognitive-behavioral psychotherapies (CBT): Toward an integrative model. Clinical Psychology Review, 3, 284–298.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. de Jong, J. T., Komproe, I. H., Van Ommeren, M., El Masri, M., Araya, M., Khaled, N., et al. (2001). Lifetime events and posttraumatic stress disorder in 4 postconflict settings. Journal of the American Medical Association, 286(5), 555–562.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. DiLorenzo, T. A., David, D., & Montgomery, G. H. (2007). The interrelations between irrational cognitive processes and distress in stressful academic settings. Personality and Individual Differences, 42, 765–777.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Dryden, W. (2009). Understanding emotional problems: The REBT perspective. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  16. Ehlers, A., & Clark, D. M. (2000). A cognitive model of persistent posttraumatic stress disorder. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 38, 319–345.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Ellis, A. (2001). Overcoming destructive beliefs, feelings, and behaviours: New directions for rational emotive behaviour therapy. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books.Google Scholar
  18. Foa, E., Cashman, L., Jaycox, L., & Perry, K. (1997). The validation of a self-report measure of PTSD: The Posttraumatic Diagnostic Scale. Psychological Assessment, 9, 445–451.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Foa, E. B., Ehlers, A., Clark, D. M., Tolin, D. F., & Orsillo, S. M. (1999). The posttraumatic cognitions inventory (PTCI): Development and validation. Psychological Assessment, 11, 303–314.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Foa, E. B., & Rauch, S. A. (2004). Cognitive changes during prolonged exposure versus prolonged exposure plus cognitive restructuring in female assault survivors with posttraumatic stress disorder. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 72, 978–984.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Galea, S., Brewin, C. R., Gruber, M., Jones, R. T., King, D. W., King, L. A., et al. (2007). Psychological sequelae of the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York City. New England Journal of Medicine, 346, 982–987.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Griffin, M. G., Uhlmansiek, M. H., Resick, P. A., & Mechanic, M. B. (2004). Comparison of the posttraumatic diagnostic scale versus the clinician administered posttraumatic stress disorder scale in domestic violence survivors. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 17, 497–503.Google Scholar
  23. Hyland, P., & Boduszek, D. (2012). Resolving a difference between cognitive therapy and rational emotive behaviour therapy: Towards the development of an integrated CBT model of psychopathology. Mental Health Review Journal, 17, 104–117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hyland, P., Shevlin, M., Adamson, G., & Boduszek, D. (2013). The organisation of irrational beliefs in posttraumatic stress symptomology: Testing the predictions of REBT theory using structural equation modelling. Journal of Clinical Psychology. doi: 10.1002/jclp.22009.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Kessler, R. C., Berglund, P., Demler, O., Jin, R., Merikangas, K. R., & Walters, E. E. (2005a). Lifetime prevalence and age-of-onset distributions of DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Archives of General Psychiatry, 62, 593–602.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kessler, R. C., Chiu, W. T., Demler, O., Merikangas, K. R., & Walters, E. E. (2005b). Prevalence, severity, and comorbidity of 12-month DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Archives of General Psychiatry, 62, 617–627.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kessler, R. C., Sonnega, A., Bromet, E., Hughes, M., & Nelson, C. B. (1995). Posttraumatic stress disorder in the National Comorbidity Survey. Archives of General Psychiatry, 52, 1048–1060.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. McNally, R. J. (2003). Progress and controversy in the study of posttraumatic stress disorder. Annual Review of Psychology, 54, 229–252.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Montgomery, G. H., David, D., DiLorenzo, T. A., & Schur, J. B. (2007). Response expectancies and irrational beliefs predict exam-related distress. Journal of Rational- Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy, 25, 17–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Najavits, L. M., Gotthardt, S., Weiss, R. D., & Epstein, M. (2004). Cognitive distortions in the dual diagnosis of PTSD and substance use disorder. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 28, 159–172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Norris, F. H., & Slone, L. B. (2007). The epidemiology of trauma and PTSD. In M. J. Friedman, T. M. Keane, & P. A. Resick (Eds.), Handbook of PTSD: Science and practice. London: The Guildford Press.Google Scholar
  32. Ozer, E., Best, S., Lipsey, T., & Weiss, D. (2003). Predictors of posttraumatic stress disorder and symptoms in adults: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 129, 52–73.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Padesky, C. A., & Beck, A. T. (2003). Science and philosophy: Comparison of cognitive therapy and rational emotive behaviour therapy. Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy, 17, 211–224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Resick, P. A., & Schnicke, M. K. (1993). Cognitive processing therapy for rape victims: A treatment manual. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  35. Rosen, G. M., & Lilienfeld, S. O. (2008). Posttraumatic stress disorder: An empirical evaluation of core assumptions. Clinical Psychology Review, 28, 837–868.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Rosen, G. M., Spitzer, R. L., & McHugh, P. R. (2008). Problems with the posttraumatic stress disorder diagnosis and its future in DSM-V. British Journal of Psychiatry, 192, 3–4.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Tabachnick, B. G., & Fidell, L. S. (2007). Using multivariate statistics (5th ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.Google Scholar
  38. Ullman, S. E., Filipas, H. H., Townsend, S. M., & Starzynski, L. L. (2007). Psychosocial correlates of PTSD symptom severity in sexual assault survivors. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 20, 821–831.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Vogt, D. S., Shipherd, J. C., & Resick, P. A. (2012). Posttraumatic maladaptive beliefs scale: Evolution of the personal beliefs and reactions scale. Assessment, 9, 308–317.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Yufik, T., & Simms, L. J. (2010). A meta-analytic investigation of the structure of posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 119, 764–776.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Zlotnick, C., Johnson, J., Kohn, R., Vicente, B., Rioseco, P., & Saldiva, S. (2006). Epidemiology of trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and co-morbid disorders in Chile. Psychological Medicine, 36, 1523–1533.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philip Hyland
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mark Shevlin
    • 1
  • Gary Adamson
    • 1
  • Daniel Boduszek
    • 2
  1. 1.School of PsychologyUniversity of UlsterLondonderryNorthern Ireland, UK
  2. 2.Department of Behavioural and Social SciencesUniversity of HuddersfieldHuddersfieldUK

Personalised recommendations