Event Title

Overcoming Trauma: Utilizing Existential Anxiety to Stimulate Posttraumatic Growth

Presenter Information

Natalie Callely

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

College

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Major

Psychology

Session Number

1

Location

RM 215

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Christina Hassija

Juror Names

Moderator: Dr. Donna Garcia

Start Date

5-18-2017 1:40 PM

End Date

5-18-2017 2:00 PM

Abstract

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and posttraumatic growth (PTG) are common outcomes after exposure to a traumatic event. Existential anxiety (EA) involves apprehension regarding purpose of life and death and may moderate the relationship between PTSD symptoms and level of PTG by triggering meaning-making behavior, or actions that help make sense of life events. Although EA has been studied in relation to PTSD, it has yet to be looked at in regards to PTG. Prior research suggests that existential anxiety is differentially associated with psychological symptoms, such as PTSD symptoms and suicidal ideation (Scott & Weems, 2013). The purpose of the current study is to examine the association between PTSD symptoms, EA, and PTG. Specifically, we evaluated the moderating role of EA in the relationship between PTSD symptoms and PTG. University students who have experienced trauma according to the Life Events Checklist for DSM-5 (LEC-5; Weathers et al., 2013) completed the Existential Anxiety Questionnaire (EAQ; Weems et al., 2004), the PTSD Checklist for DSM-5 (PCL-5; Weathers et al., 2013), and the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory (PTGI; Tedeschi & Calhaun, 1996). It is hypothesized that PTSD will be associated with PTG. It is also hypothesized that EA will be positively associated with PTSD symptoms and PTG, such that high levels of EA will be associated with greater PTG and that low levels of EA will be associated with low or no PTG.

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May 18th, 1:40 PM May 18th, 2:00 PM

Overcoming Trauma: Utilizing Existential Anxiety to Stimulate Posttraumatic Growth

RM 215

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and posttraumatic growth (PTG) are common outcomes after exposure to a traumatic event. Existential anxiety (EA) involves apprehension regarding purpose of life and death and may moderate the relationship between PTSD symptoms and level of PTG by triggering meaning-making behavior, or actions that help make sense of life events. Although EA has been studied in relation to PTSD, it has yet to be looked at in regards to PTG. Prior research suggests that existential anxiety is differentially associated with psychological symptoms, such as PTSD symptoms and suicidal ideation (Scott & Weems, 2013). The purpose of the current study is to examine the association between PTSD symptoms, EA, and PTG. Specifically, we evaluated the moderating role of EA in the relationship between PTSD symptoms and PTG. University students who have experienced trauma according to the Life Events Checklist for DSM-5 (LEC-5; Weathers et al., 2013) completed the Existential Anxiety Questionnaire (EAQ; Weems et al., 2004), the PTSD Checklist for DSM-5 (PCL-5; Weathers et al., 2013), and the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory (PTGI; Tedeschi & Calhaun, 1996). It is hypothesized that PTSD will be associated with PTG. It is also hypothesized that EA will be positively associated with PTSD symptoms and PTG, such that high levels of EA will be associated with greater PTG and that low levels of EA will be associated with low or no PTG.