University of Utah

Project Description

This study looks at the relationship between social support and the likelihood that combat veterans will talk about certain events or emotions related to their combat experiences, and in turn whether either of these variables relates to the occurrence symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Participants are asked to complete a series of surveys over the internet that deal with social support, PTSD symptoms, and likelihood of discussing certain emotions related to combat situations. Participants also complete a demographic survey about military experience (number years in service, highest rank achieved, etc.), as well as education and age. After completing measures, participants are debriefed regarding the goals of the study.

Project Abstract

This study looks at whether disclosure mediates the effects of social support, and by examining differing sources of social support. By looking at both positive and negative emotional disclosure, this study can provide new information as to the nature of therapeutic disclosure, as well as its potential effectiveness in reducing PTSD symptomology. Given this, the present study adds to the existing literature by examining social support, disclosure of positive and negative experiences, and PTSD symptoms. The data will allow us to test (1) whether social support (in general and from specific sources) is associated with reduced symptoms; and (2) three different models for how social support may affect symptoms: through increased disclosure of negative events; through disclosure of positive experiences; or through some other, non-disclosure related pathway. The latter hypotheses will be evaluated using mediational analyses (Baron & Kenny, 1986). In doing this, the data will expand on what is currently known about social support and PTSD in this population, and also point more precisely to how clinicians could intervene in terms of support (i.e., by encouraging positive disclosure or negative disclosure; by encouraging and promoting the use of sources of social support shown to be of greater effectiveness).

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