Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Course and predictors of recovery from disruptive life events
by Larsen, Sadie Elizabeth, Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2011, 109; 3496794
Abstract (Summary)

There is a history in research of studying traumatic and stressful life events as if they are two completely separate phenomena. Yet there is reason to believe these sets of events are not as different as the literature would suggest. For the many studies that have examined the effects of traumatic or stressful life events, far fewer have examined such effects as they change over time. Though it is important to understand the immediate impact of disruptive life events, it is at least as important to understand the longitudinal course of the sequelae of such events. The current study attempts to characterize the temporal nature of recovery from disruptive life events, and to explore predictors of different patterns of recovery as well as outcomes. The sample consists of 86 women who completed the study and had experienced a traumatic or “very stressful” event. These women completed a semistructured interview, a modified Life History Calendar, and questionnaires assessing anhedonic depression, PTSD symptoms, and negative affect. Results indicate that the type of life event has little influence on outcomes. Recovery from such events is often non-linear, and symptoms tend to have different courses over time. In particular, many women experience two types of symptom discontinuities: sudden gains and spikes. Women often attribute these discontinuities to external events, though they also attribute about half of sudden gains to cognitive or emotional changes. Sudden gains predicted several long-term outcomes, whereas spikes only significantly predicted one outcome.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Berenbaum, Howard
School: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: DAI-B 73/05, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Clinical psychology
Keywords: Life events, Stress, Traumatic events
Publication Number: 3496794
ISBN: 978-1-267-16464-3
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