Health Services Research & Development

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Kelly MM, DeBeer BB, Meyer EC, Kimbrel NA, Gulliver SB, Morissette SB. Experiential avoidance as a mediator of the association between posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms and social support: A longitudinal analysis. Psychological trauma : theory, research, practice and policy. 2019 Mar 1; 11(3):353-359.
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Abstract: OBJECTIVE: Veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) often experience difficulties with social reintegration after deployment. Experiential avoidance, the tendency to avoid unwanted thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations (including in response to interactions with others) may be a key factor that explains the association between PTSD symptoms and postdeployment social support. The present study evaluated whether experiential avoidance mediates the association between PTSD symptoms and perceptions of postdeployment social support. METHOD: Veterans (n = 145) who served in support of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan were enrolled in a study evaluating returning veterans'' experiences. Participants were evaluated at an initial baseline assessment and 8-months later. Participants completed the lifetime Clinician Administered PTSD Scale and the Acceptance and Action Questionnaire-II at baseline, as well as the Deployment Risk and Resilience Inventory-Post Deployment Social Support Questionnaire at the 8-month assessment. RESULTS: Baseline experiential avoidance mediated the association between lifetime PTSD symptoms and 8-month social support. CONCLUSIONS: Experiential avoidance may be an important target for treatment to improve long-term functional recovery and reintegration. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).