PTSD's Blame Criterion and Mental Health Outcomes in a Community Mental Health Treatment-Seeking Sample

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Objective: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a severe psychiatric condition that can manifest as a combination of debilitating symptoms, one of which is a distorted sense of responsibility for the traumatic event. The inclusion of DSM-5's PTSD D3 criterion (blaming self or others for the stressful experience) has received little research attention in regard to its relation to post-trauma mental health outcomes. To address this gap in literature, we examined the relevance of the clinical endorsement of the D3 criterion to PTSD symptomology and other posttrauma mental health outcomes. Method: Participants were 123 trauma-exposed, treatment-seeking individuals (M age = 35.70, 68.3% female) who completed a series of self-report questionnaires assessing PTSD symptomology, depression severity, distress intolerance, rumination, and anger reactions. Results: Independent t tests comparing those that clinically endorsed the D3 criterion (vs. those that did not) revealed that the clinical endorsement of blame was significantly associated with PTSD severity, depression, distress intolerance, and rumination. Conclusions: Our findings support the significance of PTSD's D3 criterion, and further emphasize the importance of addressing blame in posttrauma mental health outcomes.

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Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy