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The aim of this study was to compare the trauma sensitive beliefs of individuals who had never experienced an assault with the preassault and postassault beliefs of assault victims. Seventy-two individuals who had never experienced an assault completed a questionnaire designed to assess trauma sensitive beliefs (including beliefs about self-worth, safety and the trustworthiness of others). The beliefs of this group were then compared with the preassault and postassault beliefs of assault victims with persistent PTSD and assault victims who had never experienced PTSD, recruited for previous studies (Dunmore, Clark, & Ehlers, 1999, 2001). Results showed that victims who did not develop PTSD following assault reported significantly more positive preassault beliefs in comparison with those who had never been assaulted. The postassault beliefs of the persistent PTSD group were significantly more negative than the beliefs of the never assaulted group and the no PTSD assault group. Findings support evidence that suggests a relationship between negative beliefs after assault and the development of PTSD. In addition, positive preassault beliefs might play a "buffering" role, minimizing the impact of assault for those assault victims who do not subsequently develop PTSD.

Original publication




Journal article


Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy

Publication Date





249 - 257