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Mental contamination, an internal sense of dirtiness that originates in the absence of physical contact with a stimulus, has been implicated in the exacerbation of posttraumatic stress (PTS) symptoms following sexual trauma. In addition, evidence suggests that associations between PTS-related risk factors and PTS symptoms may depend on the degree to which one can tolerate experiencing negative emotions. To better understand the association between mental contamination and PTS symptoms, we examined main and interactive effects of mental contamination and tolerance of negative emotions in relation to PTS symptoms, including specific symptom clusters, in a community sample of women who experienced sexual trauma (N = 101). Tolerance of negative emotions moderated the association between mental contamination and PTS symptoms (total symptom severity, intrusion cluster, and cognitive/mood alterations cluster). These results indicate that difficulties tolerating negative emotions may be a necessary condition for mental contamination to relate to PTS symptoms following sexual trauma.
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- Main and Interactive Effects of Mental Contamination and Tolerance of Negative Emotions in Relation to Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms Following Sexual Trauma
Thomas A. Fergus
Joseph R. Bardeen
- Springer US
Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment
Print ISSN: 0882-2689
Elektronisch ISSN: 1573-3505