Understanding the role of dysfunctional post-trauma cognitions in the co-occurrence of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Two trauma samples

J. Gayle Beck, Judiann M. Jones, Catherine M. Reich, Matthew J. Woodward, Meghan W. Cody

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

This report focuses on the co-occurrence of PTSD-GAD and examines a factor that could operate to maintain both conditions, specifically negative post-trauma cognitions about the self, the world, and self-blame. Two separate help-seeking samples were examined: (a) a mixed gender sample of 301 individuals who had experienced a serious motor vehicle accident (MVA), a single incident, non-interpersonal trauma; and (b) a sample of 157 women who had experienced intimate partner violence (IPV), a recurrent, interpersonal trauma. When examined at the diagnostic level, posttraumatic cognitions for one diagnosis did not vary as a function of whether the other diagnosis was present. In the MVA sample, both diagnosed PTSD and GAD were associated with elevations in negative thoughts about the self. Diagnosed GAD was also significantly associated with negative thoughts about the world. In the IPV sample, diagnosed PTSD was associated with elevations in negative thoughts about the self only. When continuously measured PTSD and GAD were examined, results indicated that negative thoughts about the self showed significant simultaneous associations with PTSD and GAD in both samples. In the MVA sample, negative thoughts about the world and self-blame showed significant associations with PTSD but not with GAD. In the IPV sample, negative thoughts about the world and self-blame were not significantly associated with either PTSD or GAD. Results are discussed in light of current treatment models for these conditions, with emphasis on the potential for addressing transdiagnostic processes as a more effective approach to treating comorbid conditions following trauma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-31
Number of pages9
JournalBehaviour Research and Therapy
Volume70
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Support for this work is provided in part by the Lillian and Morrie Moss Chair of Excellence position (Gayle Beck).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

Copyright:
Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • Comorbidity
  • Dysfunctional cognitions
  • GAD
  • PTSD
  • Trauma

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