Psychometric evaluation of a novel measure of posttraumatic safety behaviors

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2019-07-12

Authors

Foulser, Anna Alban

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Abstract

Safety behaviors are unnecessary protective actions taken to prevent, escape, or reduce the severity of a perceived threat. Previous research has demonstrated that the use of safety behaviors contributes to appraisal of relevant stimuli as threatening. According to several prevalent theories, threat appraisals following a traumatic event contribute to a sense of ongoing threat that maintains posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Despite the conceptual link between safety behaviors and PTSD, little research has been done to investigate this relationship. This thesis aims to bridge that gap by providing a novel self-report measure of posttraumatic safety behaviors, the Posttraumatic Safety Behavior Inventory (PSBI), and psychometrically evaluating this scale in a sample of trauma survivors found on Amazon Mechanical Turk. Our findings suggest that the PSBI is best characterized by a single-factor model and displays favorable internal consistency, test-retest reliability, convergent validity, and discriminant validity. Our findings also suggest that scores on the PSBI are highly significantly associated with trauma-related threat appraisals and PTSD status, and can be used to distinguish between trauma survivors with and without PTSD. Our work suggests that safety behaviors are relevant to PTSD despite the lack of research on this topic. Researchers and clinicians working with people suffering from PTSD are encouraged to incorporate the PSBI into their work in order to better understand the role of safety behaviors in PTSD

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