How are social support, sociotropy, and autonomy related to traumatic stress disorders?

Richard E. Hicks*, Sandra Lorensini

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearchpeer-review


The present study examined how the quantity and quality of social support(s) and how sociotropic and autonomous personality styles are related to PTSD in 51 people who were diagnosed with acute stress disorder following trauma events. When reassessed after a period of more than four weeks, 31 of these patients were diagnosed with PTSD. These two groups ('ASD' and 'PTSD') were compared on social support, and personality-style as well as their trauma levels. Significant differences were found between the two groups for perceived social support, with those members in the PTSD group having fewer persons to support them (quantity of social support), less satisfaction with that support (quality of social support) and significantly higher scores on sociotropy (concern over what others think, pleasing others) and autonomy (perfectionist-autonomous-selfstrivings, desire to control, and defensive separation). This chapter emphasises the influence that social support, and excessive autonomy and sociotropy, may have in PTSD. Individualised assessment and treatment is needed to address these aspects and to aid recovery.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIndividual trauma
Subtitle of host publicationRecovering from deep wounds and exploring the potential for renewal
EditorsK. Gow, M.J. Celinksi
Place of PublicationUnited States
PublisherNova Science Publishers
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9781620812259
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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