The Role of Social Support in PTSD and Depression Symptom Severity




Bird, Jessica Lynne

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BACKGROUND: Many individuals diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have been shown to experience symptoms of avoidance. These symptoms decrease access to social support, which has been shown to be a resilience factor associated with developing PTSD after trauma. MST-related PTSD represents a relative gap in the research. The aim of the current study was to determine if the presence of social support was associated with less MST-related PTSD and depressive symptom severity. SUBJECTS: A sample of 128 participants from a larger study that was examining the effectiveness of Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) in survivors of MST. METHOD: The scores of the CAPS, BDI-II, and three questions from the VPAT, a questionnaire specifically developed for the larger study at baseline were compared to see if an association existed between PTSD and depression symptom severity and social support. RESULTS: A series of simple linear regressions were run with the total score of the CAPS, individual criteria of the CAPS against the total social support score and each individual question pertaining to social support. Additionally, the total BDI-II score was run against the total social support score as well as each individual question on the VPAT pertaining to social support. DISCUSSION: Based on these results, it appears that the presence of social support is not associated with less PTSD symptom severity. Moreover, the presence of social support was not related to less depressive symptom severity.

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