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24-11-2018 | Original Article | Uitgave 2/2019

Cognitive Therapy and Research 2/2019

Centrality of Traumatic Events: Double Edged Sword or Matter of Valence?

Cognitive Therapy and Research > Uitgave 2/2019
Michelle J. N. Teale Sapach, Samantha C. Horswill, Holly A. Parkerson, Gordon J. G. Asmundson, R. Nicholas Carleton
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The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s10608-018-9983-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Event centrality, as measured by the Centrality of Event Scale (CES), refers to the degree to which a salient traumatic memory becomes central to individual identity. The current investigation modified the CES to capture valence (positive vs. negative) of event centrality (i.e., CES-V) and determine whether the valence of event centrality for traumatic events differentially relates to trauma responses (i.e., posttraumatic stress disorder [PTSD], posttraumatic growth [PTG]). Trauma-exposed community members (n = 512) completed measures of trauma experiences, PTSD, PTG, and the CES-V. Exploratory factor analysis supported the use of the CES-V. Trauma outcome response profiles were compared between event centrality valence group (i.e., central-positive, not central, central-negative) and factors influencing event centrality valence were explored. Most participants appraised their trauma as central and positive (54.7%), while others appraised their trauma as central and negative (32.8%) or not central (12.5%). Central-positive event centrality ratings were positively related to PTG and inversely related to PTSD, whereas central-negative event centrality ratings were positively related to PTSD and inversely related to PTG. The central-positive group reported the most PTG, and the central-negative group reported the most PTSD. Future research should explore the clinical utility of using event centrality valence to predict trauma responses and track treatment progress.

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