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Network Analysis of Posttraumatic Stress Experiences of Adults Seeking Psychological Treatment for Childhood Sexual Abuse.

Abstract

Network analysis proposes that mental disorders may best be construed as causal systems embodied in networks of functionally interconnected symptoms. We employed network analysis to test how adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) experienced symptoms of posttraumatic stress, using alternative conceptualizations of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Given the characteristics of the sample (i.e., the nature of and time since trauma), we hypothesized that (a) symptoms related to arousal would not be prominent in the networks and (b) symptoms related to negative alternations in cognition and mood (NACM) would be core components in the network. Danish adults seeking psychological treatment for CSA (n = 473) completed the Harvard Trauma Questionnaire and Trauma Symptom Checklist. Three alternative models (DSM-5, DSM-5 with dissociation, and ICD-11 complex PTSD [CPTSD]) were estimated using regularized partial correlation models. In the DSM-5 network, strong associations emerged for experiences of NACM (blame and guilt) and intrusions (thoughts and flashbacks). The addition of "depersonalization" and "derealization" to the DSM-5 model produced a strong association, but these experiences were largely unrelated to other PTSD clusters. In the CPTSD network, interpersonal problems and negative self-concept were central to the survivors' experiences. For this highly-specific survivor group who experienced traumatic CSA many years ago, experiences related to NACM appeared to be more central to the posttrauma experience than those of arousal. If replicated, these findings could help inform treatment plans for specific groups of survivors. Methodological implications as to the usefulness of network models in the psychopathological research literature are discussed.

Authors+Show Affiliations

School of Psychology, Ulster University, Cromore Road, Coleraine, Co. Londonderry, Northern Ireland, BT52 1SA, United Kingdom.Department of Psychology, Maynooth University, Maynooth, Co. Kildare, Ireland.School of Psychology, Ulster University, Cromore Road, Coleraine, Co. Londonderry, Northern Ireland, BT52 1SA, United Kingdom.National Centre for Psychotraumatology, Department of Psychology, University of Southern Denmark, Campusvej 55 Odense M, DK-5230, Denmark.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article

Language

eng

PubMed ID

31141841

Citation

McBride, Orla, et al. "Network Analysis of Posttraumatic Stress Experiences of Adults Seeking Psychological Treatment for Childhood Sexual Abuse." Journal of Traumatic Stress, 2019.
McBride O, Hyland P, Murphy J, et al. Network Analysis of Posttraumatic Stress Experiences of Adults Seeking Psychological Treatment for Childhood Sexual Abuse. J Trauma Stress. 2019.
McBride, O., Hyland, P., Murphy, J., & Elklit, A. (2019). Network Analysis of Posttraumatic Stress Experiences of Adults Seeking Psychological Treatment for Childhood Sexual Abuse. Journal of Traumatic Stress, doi:10.1002/jts.22381.
McBride O, et al. Network Analysis of Posttraumatic Stress Experiences of Adults Seeking Psychological Treatment for Childhood Sexual Abuse. J Trauma Stress. 2019 May 29; PubMed PMID: 31141841.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Network Analysis of Posttraumatic Stress Experiences of Adults Seeking Psychological Treatment for Childhood Sexual Abuse. AU - McBride,Orla, AU - Hyland,Philip, AU - Murphy,Jamie, AU - Elklit,Ask, Y1 - 2019/05/29/ PY - 2017/09/04/received PY - 2018/05/11/revised PY - 2018/06/10/accepted PY - 2019/5/30/entrez PY - 2019/5/30/pubmed PY - 2019/5/30/medline JF - Journal of traumatic stress JO - J Trauma Stress N2 - Network analysis proposes that mental disorders may best be construed as causal systems embodied in networks of functionally interconnected symptoms. We employed network analysis to test how adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) experienced symptoms of posttraumatic stress, using alternative conceptualizations of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Given the characteristics of the sample (i.e., the nature of and time since trauma), we hypothesized that (a) symptoms related to arousal would not be prominent in the networks and (b) symptoms related to negative alternations in cognition and mood (NACM) would be core components in the network. Danish adults seeking psychological treatment for CSA (n = 473) completed the Harvard Trauma Questionnaire and Trauma Symptom Checklist. Three alternative models (DSM-5, DSM-5 with dissociation, and ICD-11 complex PTSD [CPTSD]) were estimated using regularized partial correlation models. In the DSM-5 network, strong associations emerged for experiences of NACM (blame and guilt) and intrusions (thoughts and flashbacks). The addition of "depersonalization" and "derealization" to the DSM-5 model produced a strong association, but these experiences were largely unrelated to other PTSD clusters. In the CPTSD network, interpersonal problems and negative self-concept were central to the survivors' experiences. For this highly-specific survivor group who experienced traumatic CSA many years ago, experiences related to NACM appeared to be more central to the posttrauma experience than those of arousal. If replicated, these findings could help inform treatment plans for specific groups of survivors. Methodological implications as to the usefulness of network models in the psychopathological research literature are discussed. SN - 1573-6598 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/31141841/Network_Analysis_of_Posttraumatic_Stress_Experiences_of_Adults_Seeking_Psychological_Treatment_for_Childhood_Sexual_Abuse_ L2 - https://doi.org/10.1002/jts.22381 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -