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Family Hardiness and Social Support as Predictors of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

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In this study we examined the influence of post-traumatic psychosocial variables on the pathogenesis of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The referential framework of the study is based on the integration of the medical model of PTSD contained in the DSM classification system and McCubbin's systemic-orientated psychosocial model of family and social functioning. The research covered 120 subjects — victims of the civil, religious and national conflicts in the territory of the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s — divided into two study groups of 60 as a target and a comparison group. All the subjects were Orthodox Serbs. The target group consisted of 60 subjects, patients from the Institute of Psychiatry of the Clinical Centre of Serbia in Belgrade with PTSD of war genesis according to the criteria of the DSM-III-R without previous psychiatric treatment. The comparison group consisted of 60 subjects who had been exposed to the effect of stress agents of catastrophic intensity of war genesis and who had previously not shown any psychiatric disorder or been treated psychiatrically. The research variables were gender, age, marital status, refugee status, war military service, Family Hardiness Index (FHI), Family Inventory of Life Events (FILE) and Social Support Index (SSI). In the equation of logistical regression low family hardiness (FHI), weaker social support (SSI) and positive marital status (on the border of statistical significance) were separated as significant predictors of PTSD. This study confirms the significance of post-traumatic environmental factors as predictors of PTSD.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Medical School, Belgrade, Institute of Psychiatry, Belgrade, Serbia and Montenegro 2: Medical School, Belgrade, Institute of Forensic Pathology, Belgrade, Serbia and Montenegro 3: Rockhampton District Mental Health Services, Australia

Publication date: 2004-12-01

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