Project Title

Self-Esteem Stability’s Impact as an Anxiety Buffer on Post Traumatic

Academic department under which the project should be listed

RCHSS - Psychological Science

Research Mentor Name

Tyler Collette

Abstract (300 words maximum)

Anxiety Buffer Disruption Theory (ABDT) explains maladaptive responses to traumatic events. Anxiety buffers such as our self-esteem help keep anxiety at bay when our mortality becomes salient. However, when traumatized individuals do not respond to mortality reminders in a psychologically healthy way (i.e., deploying their anxiety buffers in response) symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can develop.

Self-esteem stability has repeatedly been shown to be a vital variable in psychological wellbeing especially for esteem related disorders such as depression. However, there is little research on the influence of an individual’s self-esteem stability on PTSD.

Adult participants (N = 303) completed a Qualtrics survey designed to assess anxiety buffers, PTSD symptomology, and stability of self-esteem. Germane to this study, the Rosenberg’s Self-esteem Scale, which measured the participants attitude toward themselves, and the Self-Esteem Stability Scale, a cross-sectional direct self-assessment, were deployed.

Regression coefficients reveal a negative linear relationship between Self Esteem and PTSD symptom severity, and Stability and PTSD symptom severity. However, general self-esteem had a greater impact on the overall model.

The data supports ABDT as traumatized individuals showed lower self-esteem indicating the self-esteem buffer may be disrupted. Stability doesn’t make self-esteem a more effective anxiety buffer in the general population.

In a second study with people who likely have PTSD, stability was a stronger predictor of PTSD symptomology than self-esteem alone.

In this two-part project the difference in the effect of stability between PTSD and other psychiatric issues points to a unique characteristic of PTSD. The unique feature of PTSD symptomology compared to depression may be due to the difference in different overall self-esteem and its stability. This would support the idea of a unique feature of PTSD among other psychiatric disorders.

Clinicians should consider the stability of self-esteem especially when comorbid diagnoses are determined.

Disciplines

Health Psychology

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COinS
 

Self-Esteem Stability’s Impact as an Anxiety Buffer on Post Traumatic

Anxiety Buffer Disruption Theory (ABDT) explains maladaptive responses to traumatic events. Anxiety buffers such as our self-esteem help keep anxiety at bay when our mortality becomes salient. However, when traumatized individuals do not respond to mortality reminders in a psychologically healthy way (i.e., deploying their anxiety buffers in response) symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can develop.

Self-esteem stability has repeatedly been shown to be a vital variable in psychological wellbeing especially for esteem related disorders such as depression. However, there is little research on the influence of an individual’s self-esteem stability on PTSD.

Adult participants (N = 303) completed a Qualtrics survey designed to assess anxiety buffers, PTSD symptomology, and stability of self-esteem. Germane to this study, the Rosenberg’s Self-esteem Scale, which measured the participants attitude toward themselves, and the Self-Esteem Stability Scale, a cross-sectional direct self-assessment, were deployed.

Regression coefficients reveal a negative linear relationship between Self Esteem and PTSD symptom severity, and Stability and PTSD symptom severity. However, general self-esteem had a greater impact on the overall model.

The data supports ABDT as traumatized individuals showed lower self-esteem indicating the self-esteem buffer may be disrupted. Stability doesn’t make self-esteem a more effective anxiety buffer in the general population.

In a second study with people who likely have PTSD, stability was a stronger predictor of PTSD symptomology than self-esteem alone.

In this two-part project the difference in the effect of stability between PTSD and other psychiatric issues points to a unique characteristic of PTSD. The unique feature of PTSD symptomology compared to depression may be due to the difference in different overall self-esteem and its stability. This would support the idea of a unique feature of PTSD among other psychiatric disorders.

Clinicians should consider the stability of self-esteem especially when comorbid diagnoses are determined.