Beyond Criterion A1: The Effects of Relational and Non-Relational Traumatic Events

Samantha L. Anders, Sandra L. Shallcross, Patricia A. Frazier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

Trauma research has historically focused on Criterion A1 traumas, neglecting many other negative interpersonal events that have been shown to lead to posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD; S. L. Anders, P. A. Frazier, & S. Frankfurt, 2011). Trauma research has also focused primarily on PTSD and neglected other important outcomes, such as relationship functioning. This study aimed to assess a broader range of events, including many Criterion A1 interpersonal events; assess the cumulative impact of event exposure; and examine the relation between event exposure and a broad range of outcomes, including relationship functioning. A sample of 181 undergraduate students completed measures assessing exposure to a broad range of events, their worst lifetime event, and current psychological (e.g., psychological distress) and relationship (e.g., partner trust) functioning. Results suggested that non-Criterion A1 relational events were very common in our sample. The number of lifetime relational events experienced, whether Criterion A1 or non-Criterion A1, was strongly and consistently associated with all outcomes. The number of lifetime Criterion A1 non-relational events experienced was significantly associated with current PTSD symptoms but was not associated with other mental health and relationship outcomes. No differences were found between Criterion A1 relational, non-Criterion A1 relational, and Criterion A1 non-relational worst events on any of the mental health or relationship measures. Implications for further research and interventions are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)134-151
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Trauma and Dissociation
Volume13
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2012

Keywords

  • posttraumatic stress disorder
  • relationships
  • traumatic stress

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