Traumatic stress disorders: sociotropy, autonomy and social support as contributing variables.

  • Sandra Lorensini

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


The present study examined relationships between social support, sociotropic and autonomous personality styles, and acute stress disorder (ASD) symptoms as predictors of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Participants were 55 patients who were assessed by two psychologists as having a diagnosis of ASD during clinical interviews following a traumatic event. When reassessed after a period of four weeks,31 of these patients were diagnosed with PTSD. Both the ASD and the PTSD groups were found to be highly sociotropic and autonomous, with the PTSD group scoring significantly higher on both groups of personality symptoms (Pillai’s trace = .518,F(6,44)= 7.88, p<.001, η2=.52). Significant differences were found between the two groups for perceived social support, with the PTSD group having fewer persons to support them (Pillai’s trace = .521, F(6,48) = 8.72, p , .001, η2 = .52) and the group was less satisfied with that support system (Pillai’s trace = .255, F(6,48) = 2.74, p <.05, η2 = .26). The implications of the results were discussed in terms of consideration of treatment of traumatized patients and the results indicated the importance of early assessment and also of social support (both quantity and quality) in assisting recovery. Acute stress disorder symptoms were shown to be strong predictors of PTSD (Pillai’strace = .586, F(4,50) = 12.78, p<.001, η2 = .51) and patients with high scores for ASD disassociation and re-experiencing symptoms were more likely to go on to have PTSD. The extent that autonomy and especially sociotropy are major factors in the in the development of PTSD should also be considered in treatment as persons who vary in their sociotropic and autonomous needs may respond better to different therapeutic styles and emphases.
Date of Award3 Jun 2006
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorRichard E. Hicks (Supervisor)

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