Associations between changes in resilient coping and posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms.

Sinclair VG, Adams SM, Dietrich M.

The pervasive, damaging nature of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) presents enormous clinical challenges. Understanding the relationship between patients’ perceptions of PTSD symptoms and resilient coping strategies may prompt investigation of clinical interventions that improve adaptive, resilient coping skills. In this study, we examined whether changes in resilient coping were related to changes over time in the PTSD symptoms of intrusion and avoidance. A secondary analysis was conducted using longitudinal data from the community-based Washington State Twin Registry. Participants completed the four-item Brief Resilient Coping Scale (BRCS) and the Avoidance and Intrusion subscales of the Impact of Events Scale (IES) at two points in time that were at least 2 years apart. To limit analyses to participants reporting PTSD symptoms at baseline, an initial value of at least 1.0 on either Avoidance (n = 1,337) or Intrusion (n = 1,206) was required for inclusion in the sample. Using linear regression, we assessed associations of change in BRCS with a change in IES scores, controlling for the respective initial scores on each measure. Controlling for initial BRCS and IES-Intrusion values, we observed a small, statistically significant association between change in BRCS and change in IES-Intrusion scores (b* = -0.07; p = .003). There was no statistically significant association between change in BRCS and change in IES-Avoidance (b* < 0.01; p = .869). In this large, longitudinal sample, increases in resilient coping were related to decreases in intrusive thoughts over time. Because coping patterns can be taught, these results warrant further investigations into adaptive coping patterns associated with diminishing PTSD symptoms.

Associations between changes in resilient coping and posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms. Res Nurs Health. 2020 Feb 17. doi: 10.1002/nur.22014. [Epub ahead of print]