Understanding the relationship between PTSD and social support: The role of negative network orientation


Network orientation is conceptualized as an individual's attitudes and expectations regarding the usefulness of support networks in coping with stress. The present research examined the potential for network orientation to explicate the well documented association between post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and attenuated social support. Data collected from survivors of serious motor vehicle trauma (N = 458) were used to test the hypothesis that severity of PTSD would hold a significant indirect relationship with social support through negative network orientation. Childhood victimization and elapsed time from the accident were examined as potential moderators of this indirect relationship. Consistent with hypotheses, path analyses demonstrated a significant indirect relationship between PTSD and social support through negative network orientation. Specifically, this indirect effect was the result of a direct association between PTSD severity and negative network orientation and an inverse association between negative network orientation and social support. This pattern of relationships was invariant across mode of PTSD assessment (interview vs. self-report). No moderation effects were noted. These data suggest that network orientation may be an important factor in understanding interface of interpersonal processes and post-trauma pathology. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Publication Title

Behaviour Research and Therapy