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Posttraumatic stress symptoms mediate the relationship between adverse childhood experiences, avoidant personality traits and resilience

Rawlins, Bethan and Brooks, Matthew and Khan, Roxanne (2020) Posttraumatic stress symptoms mediate the relationship between adverse childhood experiences, avoidant personality traits and resilience. Anxiety, Stress and Coping. ISSN 1061-5806 (In Press)

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Abstract

Background and Objectives: It is widely recognized that posttraumatic stress (PTS) symptoms, resulting from adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), have myriad detrimental effects on the wellbeing of sufferers. Yet the extent to which PTS symptoms mediate positive and negative outcomes is less well-known. This study therefore explored whether PTS symptoms indirectly explain avoidant personality disorder (AVPD) traits and resilience following multiple ACEs. Design: A correlational design using mediation analyses was conducted. Method: One-hundred and seventy-seven participants (68.4 % female; aged 18-73 years) completed an online survey measuring experiences of childhood adversity, AVPD traits, resilience, and PTS symptoms. Results: The pathway from ACEs to AVPD mediated by PTS symptoms was both positive and significant. The indirect relationship from ACEs to resilience was also significantly and negatively mediated by PTS symptoms. Of the PTS dimensions, avoidance and hyperarousal mediated the relationship between the number of ACEs and AVPD traits, while intrusions mediated the association between the number of ACEs and resilience. Conclusions: These findings indicate that PTS symptoms can have both detrimental and adaptive effects on psychological wellbeing. Treatment and management of PTS symptoms is therefore key to the improvement of overall psychological functioning following ACEs.

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