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Keywords:

  • military combat;
  • cognitive processing;
  • disclosure;
  • PTSD;
  • posttraumatic growth

Objectives

To examine the role of cognitive processing and attitudes toward trauma disclosure among newly returned veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Method

In total, 110 veterans completed the Cognitive Processing of Trauma Scale, Disclosure of Trauma Questionnaire, and assessments of posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS), depression, and posttraumatic growth (PTG).

Results

Both maladaptive and adaptive processing were the strongest predictors of PTSS and depression, ßs = .21 to .38. However, urge to discuss trauma was the main predictor of PTG, ß = .53. Correlational findings suggested that veterans’ willingness to discuss their traumas and reactivity to doing so were related with their processing of these experiences, rs = .23 to .40.

Conclusion

This study provides further support for the critical intersection between cognitive processing and disclosure, while also suggesting the need for more research on the intra- and inter-personal dimensions of these constructs in negative and constructive outcomes after trauma.