Psychopathological View of Posttraumatic Stress Reactions is in the Eye of the Beholder. A Commentary on Schok et al.


Inge Bramsen, Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, P.O. Box 25035, 3001 HA Rotterdam, The Netherlands. E-mail:


Schok et al. (2011) concluded that military veterans with “suspicious minds” are at risk for posttraumatic stress disorder. The authors recommended that negative appraisals of peacekeeping missions are prevented or changed to positive appraisals. In developing their argument, they misrepresented previous Dutch research as adopting a “psychopathological perspective.” This commentary criticizes the medicalization of posttraumatic stress responses that tends to ignore contextual factors and moral issues at stake. Also, the implicit assumptions of a “positive psychology” of posttraumatic stress in military veterans are discussed. Results on the process of attributing meaning are presented and related to the differences in theoretical perspective. A contextualized psychology that appreciates human diversity without prejudice and that stimulates moral and cultural sensitivity is advocated.