• Trauma narratives;
  • PTSD symptoms;
  • military

The present study examined the relations between indicators of emotional processing (e.g. trauma narratives), posttraumatic stress symptoms, and psychological distress in two military samples (N= 120) exposed to significant training accidents. Trauma narratives were collected at 2–3 weeks, while outcome measures (e.g. IES-15, PTSS-10, and GHQ-30) were collected at 2–3 weeks, and 4 months after the accidents. Emotional processing was indexed by the content of positive and negative emotional expressions in the trauma narratives. The results showed that positive emotional expressions were associated with lower levels of psychological distress, whereas negative emotional expressions were linked to trauma specific symptoms and psychological distress at 2–3 weeks. Negative emotional expressions explained between 6–8% of the variance in trauma specific symptoms at 2–3 weeks, and 11% of the variance in psychological distress symptoms at 4 months after the traumatic event.