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J Consult Clin Psychol. 2008 Apr;76(2):219-30. doi: 10.1037/0022-006X.76.2.219.

Do cognitive models help in predicting the severity of posttraumatic stress disorder, phobia, and depression after motor vehicle accidents? A prospective longitudinal study.

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Department of Psychology, King's College, London, United Kingdom.


The study investigated the power of theoretically derived cognitive variables to predict posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), travel phobia, and depression following injury in a motor vehicle accident (MVA). MVA survivors (N = 147) were assessed at the emergency department on the day of their accident and 2 weeks, 1 month, 3 months, and 6 months later. Diagnoses were established with the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV. Predictors included initial symptom severities; variables established as predictors of PTSD in E. J. Ozer, S. R. Best, T. L. Lipsey, and D. S. Weiss's (2003) meta-analysis; and variables derived from cognitive models of PTSD, phobia, and depression. Results of nonparametric multiple regression analyses showed that the cognitive variables predicted subsequent PTSD and depression severities over and above what could be predicted from initial symptom levels. They also showed greater predictive power than the established predictors, although the latter showed similar effect sizes as in the meta-analysis. In addition, the predictors derived from cognitive models of PTSD and depression were disorder-specific. The results support the role of cognitive factors in the maintenance of emotional disorders following trauma.

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