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J Burn Care Rehabil. 2002 Jul-Aug;23(4):249-57.

Regulating acute posttrauma distress.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, Jhouns Hopkins Universtiy School of Medicine, Jhouns Hopkins Baywiew Center, Baltimore, Maryland 21224, USA.


The influence of emotion-approach and emotion-avoidance methods of coping on the development (cohort 1) and persistence (cohort 2) of posttraumatic stress symptoms was examined. The two coping methods and the frequency and intensity of intrusive, avoidant, and hyperarousal symptoms were assessed in separate series of 71 and 94 hospitalized acute burn-injured patients. In both samples, subjects who frequently used both mental distancing (emotion-avoidance) and venting emotions (emotion-approach), relative to subjects who used only one or neither of the two coping methods, had higher levels of posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms even when controlling for baseline symptoms. Higgins' (1997) motivational framework, incorporating the needs for controllability and predictability, and Wegner's (1994) theory of mental control are used to interpret the findings.

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