Impact of emotional approach coping and hope on PTSD and depression symptoms in a trauma exposed sample of Veterans receiving outpatient VA mental health care services

Christina M. Hassija, Jane A. Luterek, Kristin Naragon-Gainey, Sally A. Moore, Tracy Simpson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

36 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The present investigation evaluates the relationship between coping style, dispositional hope, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression symptom severity in a trauma-exposed Veteran sample. Specifically, we evaluated the adaptive value of emotional avoidant and approach coping strategies and perceptions of hope in a sample of 209 trauma-exposed Veterans receiving outpatient mental health care at a VA facility. Participants completed a life events questionnaire and inventories assessing coping, dispositional hope, and PTSD and depression symptom severity. Hierarchical regression analyses were conducted controlling for relevant demographic variables. Greater levels of emotional avoidance and lower levels of emotional expression were significantly associated with increased PTSD and depression symptom severity. Dispositional hope was positively associated with depression symptoms only and perceptions of hope moderated the association between emotional avoidance coping and depression symptoms. Findings highlight the value of emotional coping strategies and perceptions of hope in posttraumatic adjustment. Specifically, employing coping techniques that encourage emotional expression may promote improved adjustment among trauma-exposed individuals, while reduced perceptions of hope and the use of avoidant coping strategies may place individuals at greater risk for depression following exposure to traumatic events.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)559-573
Number of pages15
JournalAnxiety, Stress and Coping
Volume25
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2012
Externally publishedYes

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