Title

Participant, rater, and computer measures of coherence in posttraumatic stress disorder

Abstract

We examined the coherence of trauma memories in a trauma-exposed community sample of 30 adults with and 30 without posttraumatic stress disorder. The groups had similar categories of traumas and were matched on multiple factors that could affect the coherence of memories. We compared the transcribed oral trauma memories of participants with their most important and most positive memories. A comprehensive set of 28 measures of coherence including 3 ratings by the participants, 7 ratings by outside raters, and 18 computer-scored measures, provided a variety of approaches to defining and measuring coherence. A multivariate analysis of variance indicated differences in coherence among the trauma, important, and positive memories, but not between the diagnostic groups or their interaction with these memory types. Most differences were small in magnitude; in some cases, the trauma memories were more, rather than less, coherent than the control memories. Where differences existed, the results agreed with the existing literature, suggesting that factors other than the incoherence of trauma memories are most likely to be central to the maintenance of posttraumatic stress disorder and thus its treatment.

Publication Title

Journal of abnormal psychology

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