Protection against PTSD: Is Guilt the Key?
Metadata[+] Show full item record
Emerging research on posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) examines factors that may protect one from developing symptoms of PTSD (PTSS) instead of factors that place one at risk. However, little is known about said protective factors. Research has shown there is a strong association between personality traits and the likelihood of experiencing PTSS (Contractor, Armour, Shea, Mota, & Pietrzak, 2016) Additionally, previous research found that personality traits may predict shame- and guilt- proneness and coping techniques which could also predict the likelihood of developing PTSS (Einstein & Lanning, 1998; Karanci et al., 2012; Stevanović, Frančišković, & Vermetten, 2016). This project aimed to understand how personality, coping, and guilt and shame mattered in terms of predicting PTSS and how each variable uniquely influenced PTSS. We expected to find that coping, guilt, and shame may more significantly predict PTSS when including personality factors, since personality may predispose an individual to shame- or guilt- proneness and lead them to cope in certain ways. We specifically looked at two of the FFM traits (conscientiousness and neuroticism) which were found in previous research to have strong correlations with PTSS. We hypothesized that guilt would act as a protective factor in regard to PTSS severity due to research suggesting that guilt encourages approach coping styles. A self-report survey was collected from young adults, ages 18-25, at the University of Missouri – Kansas City. Data analysis consisted of examining bivariate correlations and running a hierarchical linear regression. Frequency of exposure to distinct trauma types, neuroticism, and guilt were predictive of PTSS. Additionally, these results suggest that neuroticism and self-conscious affect, specifically guilt, are more salient predictors of PTSD symptoms than other personality traits, coping techniques, or other self-conscious affects.