(DE)CONSTRUCTING TRAUMA: DEVELOPMENT OF IDIOSYNCRATIC STRUCTURAL AND DYNAMIC ORGANIZATIONS OF POSTTRAUMATIC SYMPTOMS TO EXAMINE MECHANISMS OF SYMPTOM MAINTENANCE

Restricted (Penn State Only)
Author:
Szkodny, Lauren Elizabeth
Graduate Program:
Psychology
Degree:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Dissertation
Date of Defense:
October 11, 2016
Committee Members:
  • Michelle Gayle Newman, Dissertation Advisor
  • Michelle Gayle Newman, Committee Chair
  • Pamela Marie Cole, Committee Member
  • Amy Dyanna Marshall, Committee Member
  • Peter Cm Molenaar, Outside Member
Keywords:
  • PTSD
  • person-specific
  • P-technique
  • ecological momentary assessment
  • intensive repeated measures
Abstract:
The dynamic nature of PTSD inherent in the interplay between trauma-related thoughts, emotions, sensations, and behavioral strategies is central to models of PTSD, which implicate avoidance of internal and external trauma-related stimuli in the maintenance of posttraumatic symptomatology. Avoidance interferes with the processing of the trauma memory, habituation of negative emotions, and extinction of the fear response triggered by trauma reminders, and precludes the ability to disconfirm beliefs about potential adverse consequences. To further elucidate the causal role of avoidance in maintaining PTSD, the present study used intensive longitudinal data to examine idiosyncratic structural and dynamic organizations of PTSD. The latent structure of daily posttraumatic symptoms within individuals with trauma histories was revealed through a series of person-specific exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses, whereas dynamic factor models yielded correlational and predictive relationships between states in time. Twenty individual exploratory and dynamic factor models emerged from intensive repeated measurements of within-person data, delineating syndrome structure and dynamics of psychopathology related to trauma for each participant. Implications for diagnostic conceptualization and causal models of PTSD are discussed.