Posttraumatic stress reactions as a disruption in anxiety-buffer functioning: Dissociation and responses to mortality salience as predictors of severity of posttraumatic symptoms

Abdolhossein Abdollahi, Tom Pyszczynski, Molly Maxfield, Aleksandra Luszczynska

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations

Abstract

Anxiety-Buffer Disruption Theory (ABDT) posits that posttraumatic stress disorder is associated with a disruption of normal anxiety-buffer functioning produced by traumatic events that produce high levels of dissociation. Two experiments conducted among survivors of the 2005 Zarand earthquake in Iran supported four hypotheses derived from ABDT: (1) dissociation predicts atypical responses to death- and trauma-related thoughts, (2) dissociation predicts stronger affective responses to death- and trauma-related thoughts, (3) PTSD symptom severity 2 years after the event is associated with continued disruption of anxiety-buffer responses, (4) the relationship between dissociation 1 month posttrauma and posttraumatic symptoms 2 years later is mediated by disrupted anxiety-buffering functioning. The role of anxiety-buffer disruption in both clinically significant and seemingly benign but socially problematic responses to traumatic events was discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)329-341
Number of pages13
JournalPsychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy
Volume3
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2011
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Anxiety-Buffer Disruption Theory
  • posttraumatic stress
  • Terror Management Theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology

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