Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy




Clinical Psychology

Committee Chair

Gayle Beck

Committee Member

Kathryn Howell

Committee Member

Jason Braasch


Although there is a strong and consistent association between social support and PTSD, the directionality of this association has been debated, with some researchers proposing that social support protects against PTSD, whereas other researchers suggest that PTSD erodes social support. The majority of studies in the literature have been cross-sectional, rendering causality impossible to determine. Cross-lagged panel models overcome many previous limitaitons but findings within the few studies employing these designs have been mixed. The current study used a cross-lagged panel structural equation model to explore the relationship between social support and PTSD over a one-year period in a sample of 264 OEF/OIF/OND Veterans. Two separate models were run, with one model using self-report assessed PTSD and the other model using clinician assessed PTSD. Excellent model fit was found for both models. Results indicated that the relationship between social support and PTSD was affected by assessment modality, with the self-report model finding a bidirectional relationship between social support and PTSD over time, whereas the clinician assessed model found only that baseline PTSD affected social support one year later. Findings highlight the importance of utilizing longitudinal data to better understand the relationship between social support and PTSD and suggest that assessment modality is one factor that can impact the association between these constructs. The implications of these models are discussed within the context of previous research, with suggestions for the growing body of literature utilizing these designs to dismantle this complex association.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.