Coping with an analogue traumatic stressor: Role of different coping methods
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This study examined the role of two different coping methods on recovery from an analogue trauma (a film stressor) in a sample of college women. In particular, this report assessed whether women who used avoidance or approach coping following a film stressor showed different self-reported emotional, cognitive and physical responses as well as post-trauma symptoms immediately following the film, one day later and one week later. Participants were 84 female college students who scored within one standard deviation below or above the mean on the emotion-, avoidance- and task-focused coping subscales of the Coping Inventory for Stressful Situations. Participants were randomly assigned to one of two coping conditions ( avoidance or approach ). All participants showed significant negative emotional and self-reported physical responses to the film. Participants in the avoidance group reported more avoidance symptoms and used more worry and distraction to control intrusive film-related thoughts, whereas those in the approach group used more social control and reappraisal to control intrusive thoughts following the film. Furthermore, different thought control strategies were associated with different post-trauma symptoms for each coping group. For the avoidance group only punishment was positively related to post-trauma symptoms, but for the approach group, distraction, worry and punishment were positively related to post-trauma symptoms. Results are discussed in light of current empirical and theoretical literature on post-trauma problems.