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Title: An investigation into cultural differences in appraisal patterns for everyday and traumatic events
Author: Gough, Kate
ISNI:       0000 0004 2718 0259
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2011
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Objectives: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a universal phenomenon, but evidence suggests psychological processes involved within its aetiology and maintenance have cultural variations. Leading PTSD models agree that autonomous appraisals are central to PTSD but give little consideration to the influence of culture. However research suggests individuals from cultures with primarily independent self-construals make more autonomous (e.g. control, responsibility) appraisals for everyday events. This could have significant implications for PTSD models. This study's objective was to assess cultural differences in everyday appraisals and provide a novel examination of cultural differences in appraisals of trauma. Design: A total of 90 participants (49 Independent, 41 Interdependent) were recruited from the community. A 2 (culture; Independent vs. Interdependent) x 2 (memory: everyday vs. trauma) mixed design was utilised. It was predicted that the Independent group would show elevated autonomous appraisals for the everyday memory. The trauma condition was exploratory. A correlational analysis of the relationship between appraisal patterns and PTSD symptoms was also conducted across cultures. It was hypothesised that a negative association would be observed between elevated PTSD symptoms and autonomous appraisals in Independent but not Interdependent cultures. Results: Cultural differences were reported for several appraisals themes, however methodological limitations prevented firm conclusions regarding control and responsibility appraisals. Cultural differences also emerged in the relationship between trauma appraisals and posttraumatic symptoms. Some unexpected relationships arose, but as anticipated, the Interdependent group's psychological well-being correlated with interpersonal appraisals rather than autonomous appraisals typical within Independent cultures. Conclusions: This study highlights the complex relationship between culture and PTSD. The central findings support claims that whilst PTSD is a universal phenomenon, the appraisal themes involved may not be. There is a clear need for further research to clarify these initial findings and where necessary develop culturally appropriate assessment measures, models and interventions for PTSD.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available