Gender, social support, and PTSD in victims of violent crime



Gender differences in social support levels and benefits were investigated in 118 male and 39 female victims of violent crime assessed for PTSD symptomatology 1 and 6 months postcrime. Within 1 month postcrime both genders reported similar levels of positive support and support satisfaction, but women reported significantly more negative responses from family and friends. Women also reported an excess of PTSD symptoms that was similar at 1 and 6 months postcrime, and negative responses mediated the relationship between gender and later symptoms. Overall negative response and support satisfaction, but not positive support, were significantly associated with PTSD symptoms. However, the effects of support satisfaction and negative response on 6-month symptoms were significantly greater for women than men. The findings are consistent with previous studies of predominantly female assault victims concerning the stronger impact of negative over positive support, and might help explain women's higher PTSD risk in civilian samples.