Experiential avoidance and forgiveness as mediators in the relation between traumatic life events and PTSD symptoms

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APA Citation: 

Orcutt , H. K., Pickett, S., & Pope, E. (2005). Experiential avoidance and forgiveness as mediators in the relation between traumatic life events and PTSD symptoms. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 24, 1003–1029.

Publication Topic: 
ACT: Empirical
Publication Type: 
Article
Language: 
English
Abstract: 

The present study investigates experiential avoidance and forgiveness, two general response styles to emotional distress that may impact reactions to trauma exposure, as potential mediators of the link between interpersonal trauma exposure and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms in a cross–sectional survey of 229 undergraduate students reporting interpersonal trauma exposure. Utilizing structural equation modeling techniques, both constructs were found to significantly partially mediate the relation between interpersonal trauma exposure and PTSD symptoms; experiential avoidance reduced the relation between interpersonal trauma exposure and PTSD symptoms by 22% while forgiveness reduced this relation by 14%. Thus, individuals who were lower in forgiveness and higher in experiential avoidance reported higher PTSD symptoms than those higher in forgiveness and lower in experiential avoidance. Implications for treatment and prevention of PTSD symptoms are discussed.

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