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Abstract

The purpose of the present study was to compare post-traumatic stress syndrome among persons involved in nine different stressor events: combat in the Vietnam War; rape; serious life-threatening events; divorce; the death of a significant other; critical, near fatal illness of a significant other; family trauma; multiple traumatic events; and no stressful event. To assess the severity of the symptoms which define post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the Impact of Event Scale, the Beck Depression Inventory, the Stress Assessment Scale for PTSD from the Vietnam Era Stress Inventory (Wilson & Krauss, 1980) and the Sensation Seeking Scale were administered to the participants (N=409). A person by situation conceptual model of PTSD was presented from which two major hypotheses were tested. As predicted from the model, the degree of loss of a significant other and life-threat were predictive of syndromespecific symptoms of PTSD. The results of the study strongly support the heuristic value of an interactionist model of PTSD.

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