Resilience predicts posttraumatic cognitions after a trauma reminder task and subsequent positive emotion induction among veterans with PTSD


[Correction Notice: An Erratum for this article was reported in Vol 14(S1) of Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy (see record 2022-45004-002). In the article (, the Supplemental materials link was missing from the title page. All versions of this article have been corrected.] Objective: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a common problem for veterans. Resilience, the tendency to bounce back from difficult circumstances, is negatively associated with posttraumatic cognitions (PTCs) among individuals with a history of trauma, and it may be important to understand responses to trauma reminders. Method: Using a quasi-experimental design, we examined the association between trait resilience and state PTCs in veterans with PTSD (n = 47, Mage = 48.60, 91.8% male) at two points: following a written trauma narrative exposure (Time 1 [T1]), and following a subsequent positive distraction task (i.e., brief, positive video; Time 2 [T2]). Results: After controlling for PTSD symptom severity and combat exposure, resilience was negatively associated with PTCs at T1 (ΔR2 = .19) and T2 (ΔR2 = .13). However, resilience was a poor predictor of change in PTCs from T1 to T2. We also examined the relationship between resilience and subtypes of PTCs: resilience was associated with negative views of the self (T1, ΔR2 = .24) but not negative views of the world or self-blame (T1, ΔR2s ≤ .07); these results were consistent at T2. Conclusions: Thus, resilience may attenuate negative trauma-related cognitions after trauma recall; however, this study was not designed to test causal pathways. Future research could examine whether resilience-building exercises reduce negative PTCs after trauma reminders among veterans. Additional research is needed to generalize to other trauma-exposed populations. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved)

Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy
Adam P. McGuire
Adam P. McGuire
Assistant Professor of Psychology