Requests for reprints should be sent to Dr. Robert J. Ursano, M.D., Department of Psychiatry, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD 20814–4799.
Cognitive and Behavioral Responses to Trauma
Article first published online: 31 JUL 2006
Journal of Applied Social Psychology
Volume 20, Issue 21, pages 1766–1775, December 1990
How to Cite
Ursano, R. J. and Fullerton, C. S. (1990), Cognitive and Behavioral Responses to Trauma. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 20: 1766–1775. doi: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.1990.tb01510.x
- Issue published online: 31 JUL 2006
- Article first published online: 31 JUL 2006
In order to identify cognitive and behavioral responses to trauma, we have studied responses to mass casualty body handling following the Gander, Newfoundland, plane crash of 1985 and the 1989 USS Iowa disaster, and responses to a simulated chemical and biological warfare environment. Individual and group trauma behaviors show prominent: (a) thinking by similarity (identification, and looking for the familiar/ seeing the past in the present); (b) attribution of meaning (rituals, symbols, language, and rumors); and (c) contagion of behavior. These processes highlight the importance of the study of responses to different traumatic stressors in order to identify cognitive mechanisms and behaviors activated by trauma. Such phenomena may be important to our understanding of the effects of traumatic stress and their acute and long-term health outcomes.