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J Abnorm Psychol. 2000 Nov;109(4):624-33.

Posttraumatic stress disorder and retrospectively reported stressor exposure: a longitudinal prediction model.

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National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Veterans Affairs (VA) Boston Healthcare System, 150 South Huntington Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02130, USA.


There has been recent concern about the degree to which posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptomatology influences reports of prior exposure to highly stressful life events. In this longitudinal study of 2,942 male and female Gulf War veterans, the authors documented change in stressor reporting across 2 occasions and the association between change and PTSD symptom severity. A regression-based cross-lagged analysis was used to examine the relationship between PTSD symptom severity and later reported stressor exposure. Shifts in reporting over time were modestly associated with PTSD symptom severity. The cross-lagged analysis revealed a marginal association between Time 1 PTSD symptom severity and Time 2 reported stressor exposure for men and suggested that later reports of stressor exposure are primarily accounted for by earlier reports and less so by earlier PTSD symptomatology.

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