Resilience in Trauma-Exposed Refugees: The Moderating Effect of Coping Style on Resilience Variables

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Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Research with survivors of torture has generated considerable variability in prevalence rates of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Multiple risk and resilience factors may affect this variability, increasing or decreasing the likelihood of experiencing psychological distress. This study sought to investigate the effect of several such resilience factors, coping style, social support, cognitive appraisals, and social comparisons on PTSD symptom severity. Furthermore, this study examined whether coping style moderated the relationship between resilience variables and PTSD symptoms. Seventy-five torture survivors completed an intake interview and several self-report measures upon entry into a treatment program for survivors of torture. Results indicated that emotion-focused coping styles significantly moderated the relationship between cognitive appraisal and social comparison variables and PTSD, and usually increased the likelihood of developing severe symptoms. These results indicate that the salience of resilience variables may differ depending on the individual’s coping style, which present implications for clinical practice with torture survivors.

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