Objective: Certain thought control strategies for managing the intrusive symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are thought to play a key role in its onset and maintenance. Whereas measures exist for the empirical assessment of such thought control strategies in adults, relatively few studies have explored how children and adolescents manage posttraumatic intrusive phenomena. Methods: In a prospective longitudinal study of 10-16-year-olds with PTSD, who were survivors of road traffic collisions and assaults, a variety of thought control strategies were assessed in the acute phase. These included strategies thought to be protective (reappraisal, social support) as well as maladaptive (distraction, punishment, worry). Ruminative responses to the trauma were assessed at the follow-up assessment. Results: Posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) at each assessment were associated with the use of punishment and reappraisal, whereas social support and rumination were associated with PTSS symptoms at follow-up. Distraction was unrelated to PTSS at any time point. Rumination accounted for variance in PTSS symptoms at follow-up, even when accounting for baseline PTSS, and was found to mediate the relationships between reappraisal and punishment at baseline and PTSS at the follow-up assessment. Conclusions: The present study found no evidence to support advocating any particular thought control strategy for managing the intrusive symptoms of PTSD in youth in the acute posttrauma phase, and raised concerns over the use of reappraisal coping strategies. The study underscores the importance of ruminative responses in the onset and maintenance of PTSD in trauma-exposed youth.
|Number of pages||5|
|Journal||Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Feb 2014|