Psychological preparedness for trauma as a protective factor in survivors of torture

Basoglu, M., Mineka, S., Paker, M., Aker, T., Livanou, M., & Gok, S. (1997). Psychological preparedness for trauma as a protective factor in survivors of torture. Psychological Medicine, 27, 1421-1433.

ABSTRACT

Examined the role of “psychological preparedness” for trauma in post-traumatic stress responses in survivors of torture. 34 adult torture survivors who had no history of political activity, commitment to a political cause or group, or expectations of arrest and torture were compared with 55 tortured political activists, using structured interviews and measures of anxiety, depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Compared with tortured political activists, tortured non-activists were subject to relatively less severe torture but showed higher levels of psychopathology. Less psychological preparedness related to greater perceived distress during torture and more severe psychological problems, explaining 4% of the variance in general psychopathology and 9% of the variance in posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms. The findings support to the role of prior immunization to traumatic stress and to unpredictability and uncontrollability of stressors in the effects of traumatization.

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