Date of Award
Master of Science
Elevated aggression is frequently found among individuals with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD and combat exposure alone do not explain the reliable finding of heightened aggression among trauma-exposed veterans. Shame may be an important affective feature in this relationship. The present study examined the role of shame from a social hierarchy perspective in a sample of 52 combat veterans from the post-9/11 era. Correlational analyses indicated positive relations between shame, PTSD, and aggression. Trait shame was found to mediate between PTSD severity and physical aggression, but not other forms of aggression. For veterans within the context of a hierarchical military culture, separation from the military and diagnosis of PTSD may be salient markers of social loss and exclusion. Aggression may operate to reduce the negative affective experience associated with shame and to regain social standing. Findings implicate shame as a pivotal emotional component in the relationship between PTSD and aggression.
Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.
Zakarian, Rebecca Jill, "Understanding PTSD, Aggression, and Shame among Post-9/11 Veterans" (2019). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 2018.