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Title: The role of cognitive appraisals in the disruption of anxiety-buffer functioning among trauma survivors experiencing posttraumatic distress
Author: Bolster, Andre
ISNI:       0000 0004 5371 3418
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2015
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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. 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.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available