Because a relatively small percentage of individuals who experience a traumatic event ultimately develop posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), it is incumbent upon researchers to identify factors of vulnerability and risk. One possible risk factor is attributional style or the types of causes individuals habitually offer for negative life events. This study examined the association between pessimistic attributional style and symptoms of PTSD. Because of methodological problems with the traditional questionnaire measurement of dispositional attributional style, this investigation added a structured content analysis of participants’ trauma narratives to examine associations between trauma-specific attributions and PTSD symptoms. Dispositional attributional style, measured by the attributional style questionnaire (ASQ), was significantly associated with PTSD symptoms, but trauma-specific attributions more strongly predicted symptoms.
Gray, M. J., Pumphrey, J. E., & Lombardo, T. W. (2003). The relationship between dispositional pessimistic attributional style versus trauma-specific attributions and PTSD symptoms. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 17(3), 289-303.