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The paper suggests that the negative idiosyncratic meaning of posttraumatic intrusions (e.g., 'I am going crazy') and cognitive strategies intended to control the intrusions play a major role in maintaining posttraumatic stress disorder. Two studies of 159 and 138 motor vehicle accidents survivors showed that the dysfunctional meaning of intrusions explained a proportion of the variance of the intrusion-related distress, strategies used to end the intrusions, and PTSD severity that was not explained by intrusion frequency, accident severity, or by general catastrophic thoughts when anxious. Rumination, thought suppression, and distraction when having intrusions showed substantial correlations with PTSD severity, as did avoidance of reminders of the accident. The results have implications for the treatment of chronic PTSD.


Journal article


Behav Res Ther

Publication Date





537 - 558


Accidents, Traffic, Adult, Anxiety, Chronic Disease, Cognition Disorders, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Severity of Illness Index, Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic, Surveys and Questionnaires, Survival Rate, Thinking