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J Trauma Stress. 2006 Dec;19(6):813-23.

Changes in coping strategies, relationship to the perpetrator, and posttraumatic distress in female crime victims.

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  • 1National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Women's Health Sciences Division, VA Boston Healthcare System, Boston, MA 02130, USA.


This study examined the relationship between changes in coping and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptomatology among recent female rape and physical assault victims as a function of assault type and perpetrator status. Participants were assessed within 1 month after trauma and again at 3 months after trauma. Results indicate that changes in coping strategies over time are associated with the severity of the PTSD symptoms. Assault type was not a significant factor in the association between changes in coping and PTSD, but perpetrator status was. Victims with known perpetrators, who coped more by social withdrawal, had more severe PTSD symptoms over time. The importance of examining the dynamic nature of coping in the development of PTSD is discussed.

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