Childhood Trauma and Complex Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms in Older Adults: A Study of Direct Effects and Social-Interpersonal Factors as Potential Mediators

Krammer, Sandy; Kleim, Birgit; Simmen-Janevska, Keti; Maercker, Andreas (2015). Childhood Trauma and Complex Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms in Older Adults: A Study of Direct Effects and Social-Interpersonal Factors as Potential Mediators. Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, 17(5), pp. 1-16. 10.1080/15299732.2014.991861

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Childhood traumatic events may lead to long-lasting psychological effects and contribute to the development of complex posttraumatic sequelae. These might be captured by the diagnostic concept of complex posttraumatic stress disorder (CPTSD) as an alternative to classic posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). CPTSD comprises a further set of symptoms in addition to those of PTSD, namely, changes in affect, self, and interpersonal relationships. Previous empirical research on CPTSD has focused on middle-aged adults but not on older adults. Moreover, predictor models of CPTSD are still rare. The current study investigated the association between traumatic events in childhood and complex posttraumatic stress symptoms in older adults. The mediation of this association by 2 social-interpersonal factors (social acknowledgment as a survivor and dysfunctional disclosure) was investigated. These 2 factors focus on the perception of acknowledgment by others and either the inability to disclose traumatic experiences or the ability to do so only with negative emotional reactions. A total of 116 older individuals (age range = 59–98 years) who had experienced childhood traumatic events completed standardized self-report questionnaires indexing childhood trauma, complex trauma sequelae, social acknowledgment, and dysfunctional disclosure of trauma. The results showed that traumatic events during childhood were associated with later posttraumatic stress symptoms but with classic rather than complex symptoms. Social acknowledgment and dysfunctional disclosure partially mediated this relationship. These findings suggest that childhood traumatic stress impacts individuals across the life span and may be associated with particular adverse psychopathological consequences.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

04 Faculty of Medicine > Service Sector > Institute of Legal Medicine
04 Faculty of Medicine > Service Sector > Institute of Legal Medicine > Forensic Psychiatric Services

UniBE Contributor:

Krammer, Sandy

Subjects:

600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health

ISSN:

1529-9732

Language:

English

Submitter:

Antoinette Angehrn

Date Deposited:

12 Jun 2015 15:41

Last Modified:

16 Oct 2016 01:56

Publisher DOI:

10.1080/15299732.2014.991861

PubMed ID:

26011396

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/69469

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