Date of Award


Degree Type




First Advisor

Doane, Lisa Stines

Subject Headings

Post-traumatic stress disorder -- Treatment, Adjustment (Psychology), Exposure therapy, PTSD, coping, treatment choice, brief COPE


Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental disorder characterized by symptoms of intrusive recollection, avoidance or numbing, and hyper arousal following being exposed to a traumatic event involving threatened or actual death or serious injury (4th ed., text rev, DSM-IV-TR American Psychiatric Association, 2000). Those with PTSD, employ a variety of coping strategies to deal with the symptoms following their trauma exposure. Across studies, it has been found that coping styles which are active have a positive effect on both physical and psychological health (Gil & Caspi, 2005 Lazarus & Moskowits, 2004 Olff, Langeland, & Gersons, 2005). However, avoidance coping styles are common in those with PTSD and avoidant coping strategies positively relate to hassles, negative physical symptoms, and negative affect while negatively related to uplifts, life satisfaction, and positive affect (Amirkhan, 1990). Exposure therapy for PTSD is seen as highly effective as it addresses the avoidance symptoms of PTSD. A patient who chooses a therapy which does not involve facing the trauma memory may be doing so because of their tendency towards avoidant coping behaviors. It is the goal of the current study to 1) examine coping behaviors in a student population (sample 1) and a sample seeking treatment for PTSD (sample 2), 2) identify how these behaviors relate to treatment preference, and 3) how these behaviors relate to PTSD. The results revealed use of three styles of coping behavior: adaptive, maladaptive, and other coping. The use of coping did not significantly relate to treatment preference however it did relate to PTSD diagnosis in Sample 1

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Psychology Commons