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Keywords:

  • rational emotive behaviour therapy (REBT);
  • irrational beliefs;
  • posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD);
  • structural equation modelling (SEM)

Objective

This study directly tests a central prediction of rational emotive behaviour therapy (REBT) that has received little empirical attention regarding the core and intermediate beliefs in the development of posttraumatic stress symptoms.

Method

A theoretically consistent REBT model of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was examined using structural equation modelling techniques among a sample of 313 trauma-exposed military and law enforcement personnel.

Results

The REBT model of PTSD provided a good fit of the data, χ2 = 599.173, df = 356, p < .001; standardized root mean square residual = .05 (confidence interval = .04–.05); standardized root mean square residual = .04; comparative fit index = .95; Tucker Lewis index = .95. Results demonstrated that demandingness beliefs indirectly affected the various symptom groups of PTSD through a set of secondary irrational beliefs that include catastrophizing, low frustration tolerance, and depreciation beliefs.

Conclusions

Results were consistent with the predictions of REBT theory and provides strong empirical support that the cognitive variables described by REBT theory are critical cognitive constructs in the prediction of PTSD symptomology.