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J Abnorm Psychol. 2000 Feb;109(1):69-73.

Predicting PTSD symptoms in victims of violent crime: the role of shame, anger, and childhood abuse.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Royal Holloway, University of London, England.


To examine the role of cognitive-affective appraisals and childhood abuse as predictors of crime-related posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, 157 victims of violent crime were interviewed within 1 month post-crime and 6 months later. Measures within 1 month post-crime included previous physical and sexual abuse in childhood and responses to the current crime, including shame and anger with self and others. When all variables were considered together, shame and anger with others were the only independent predictors of PTSD symptoms at 1 month, and shame was the only independent predictor of PTSD symptoms at 6 months when 1-month symptoms were controlled. The results suggest that both shame and anger play an important role in the phenomenology of crime-related PTSD and that shame makes a contribution to the subsequent course of symptoms. The findings are also consistent with previous evidence for the role of shame as a mediator between childhood abuse and adult psychopathology.

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