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Abstract

The present study assesses the intervening role of ways of coping in mediating the effects of causal attribution for negative events on combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The sample consisted of Israeli soldiers who suffered a combat stress reaction episode during the 1982 Lebanon War and were followed 2 and 3 years after their participation in combat. The results showed that an attribution of negative events to stable and uncontrollable causes was associated with both a more frequent use of emotion-focused coping and a less frequent use of problem-focused coping. It was also found that emotion-focused coping and problem-focused coping were more direct antecedents of combat-related PTSD than causal attribution. Finally, it was found that the association between causal attribution and combat-related PTSD was mediated by variations in emotion-focused coping. The discussion attempts to integrate theoretical notions derived from attributional models and Lazarus and Folkman's stress-coping model.